After a semester in Barcelona, and a semester pledging a frat (did any real academic work get done, I guess we’ll see when the grades come out), at USC, my guy is coming home tonight! And I am so seriously thrilled to see him that I’m practically ready to throw a townwide parade. Can’t you just see the banner held by the local girl scouts: “Your mom made us hold this dumb banner, so Welcome Home, Jake, whoever you are.”
All over town, I’m seeing happy mom’s and dad’s talking about their newly minted college offspring. They, like me, are about to embark on “the first summer.” And what I mean here, is we’re about to see if Thomas Wolfe was right or wrong, when he said “You can’t go home again.” I mean, maybe it’s “You can’t go home again and drink at dinner.” These kids have spent a year partying and imbibing, not doing laundry, or taking out the garbage, curfew-less and totally independent, and now, this first summer, they come back to their childhood rooms, and house rules. So, what should the house rules be? How do you go forward, instead of backward? How do you give them their freedom, without compromising your own sanity and sense of right, especially if you have a younger kid, watching with hawk eyes for exactly what the precedence will be?
I have some ideas. But it will really take a sit-down with Jake to flesh them out and come up, in a somewhat democratic way, with the “After the first year,” rules of the roost. I know he’ll have enough respect for us to follow whatever we say, but determining what that is, that’ll be the challenge.
Today, I’m not worrying about it, I’m making his favorite meatballs and I’m lettering the banner. I really hope the girl scouts aren’t busy.