While my daughter was home from college on an October weekend break, we ran into a neighbor out for a walk with her new twin grandchildren. We couldn’t linger because I was driving my daughter to the airport to fly back to school or “home” as she said. The neighbor stopped in her tracks and said sternly, “Don’t ever call college ‘home.’ This is your home right here,” pointing to our house.
I’ll admit that hearing my daughter call college “home” did sting. She’s the youngest of three and the only one who really can call our house of three decades her “home.” Her one older brother is married and lives with his wife; her other brother has an apartment in the city. My daughter is the only one with a bedroom with all her “stuff” and clothes (as well as clothes in the closets in her brothers’ former room). She loves all the creature comforts of our house.
I am not ready to turn her room in a guest room or home office, nor her brothers’ room for that matter, which is filled with memorabilia from high school and college. Even though their beds are barely ever used, I still switch the comforters from lightweight for summer to down for winter. I am not moving anytime soon and I don’t need an extra room for any other purpose so why not keep it as a shrine of sorts. And, I think my “boys,” both busy with demanding careers, like the idea that their childhood can be revisited on occasion, sort of like a museum. Of course, they would never admit that to me!
I might be overly sentimental but I like to think of our house as a place that the “children” can truly consider their perpetual home. A place where they can open the fridge without asking, where there are clean towels after a jog, where they can unwind on a Sunday afternoon with the big screen TV before going off to slay dragons at work, where they can sit in the backyard and read a book or snooze in the hammock. A refuge in the storm of life in the 21st century.
I plan to stay in my house, I hope, for about another decade. By that time my daughter will be approaching thirty and my sons their 40s. Maybe then I will be able to give up the family home and have tired of changing those comforters with the seasons.
But for now, not yet. Indeed with the first grandchild on the way this fall we bought a crib and put it in one of the spare bedrooms. Feels like we are starting over, and that’s a good thing!