Parents and college kids rarely on the same schedule

11/30/2013

Home for the holidays.

Home for the holidays.

My daughter and son, Claire and Alek, came home for Thanksgiving and in fewer than two weeks will return for Christmas.

It's an adjustment for all of us, but a good one for my wife and me.

I'm sure the kids enjoy being home, but speaking from experience, it's a break in their routine.

Going off to college is a huge change in a young person's life, but it is amazing how quickly you become adjusted and think of that as your home.

Claire and Alek live off-campus, so they have gotten used to doing laundry and cooking and even cleaning.

But they have not forgotten how to bring home their dirty clothes and pile them in front of the washer and dryer.

For Alek's part, he is usually home and gone in short order and does his own laundry.

Claire sticks around a little longer, so she has time to wait for Mom or Dad (usually Mom) to do laundry.

It's great to have them home and be able to spend time with them.

It can be eye-opening how mature they become, and how quickly they form opinions about the world — their corner of it and the rest of it.

Both are spending time working at the newspaper, and Alek is also assigned some of the chores around the house that never seem to get done or get put off until he gets home.

They come and go, keeping hours my wife and I used to keep before we had them and before sleep became more important than being out.

I don't remember the exact point it happened, but going out no longer was important.

There was a time when we couldn't wait for the weekends because we could go out with friends and forget about the work week.

Then we started getting more involved with what the kids were doing, and work started becoming more demanding.

More responsibilities and more worries meant a shift in priorities.

Soon, going out meant school programs, parent-teacher conferences and going to ball games.

One day, you wake up and staying home watching a movie becomes more appealing than leaving the couch.

That's the order of things as we grow up and older.

Now, when Claire and Alek are home, they don't even leave the house until dark, and come home well after my wife and I have gone to bed.

Youth may be wasted on the young, but then again, they are the only ones with the energy for it.

It's funny to see my kids and hear them talk about their plans because it brings back memories.

I remind them that Mom and Dad weren't always so content to be home.

I also try and impart a little wisdom from the experience I've gained, but just like when they were running around the neighborhood, they have to get a few skinned knees to get the real lessons in life.

The time they spend at home is great because I know as time goes by, someday they will be married and have their own families, and suddenly staying home on a Saturday night won't be so bad.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.

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