A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that her son (who is in the military) and his wife will be arriving home today for a week’s stay. When reading her post, I could sense my friend’s excitement at the anticipation of this upcoming visit. This post came on the heels of my oldest daughter’s arrival home from college the day before for a six-day visit, so I completely understand the joy of having an adult child return home.
We have three children who no longer live at home and one more that is only home on a temporary basis. Should the need arise, any of them would, of course, be welcomed back home, but I understand that they need to grow up, move on and live their own lives. However, I also know that I love to have any of them come for a visit; it doesn’t matter whether it’s a six-day visit from out-of-town or just a visit for dinner (or free lunch food) from across the river – my “mommy feathers” plump up at the news that a visit is upcoming.
As I’ve acknowledged this feeling of joy at having a grown-up child return home I’ve thought back to my own childhood home and the feelings I had in going back as a young adult with the knowledge I now have of how my mom must have felt whenever I’d return home. I always loved going home for a visit and I loved having my mom take care of me, even though sometimes I felt smothered by her care or obstinate in my belief that my way of living – in many ways different from hers – was the really true “right way”. I know now that I probably hurt my mom’s feelings a time or two either by not being as gracious as I could have been about her desire to see me or by changing my plans last minute so that a planned visit either didn’t occur or was cut short.
This understanding of the two perspectives: going home as my young-adult-self and anticipating my children coming home as my adult-mom-self, is a new realization for me and I have to admit that it leaves me feeling a bit vulnerable. I realize that I’m vulnerable to the possibility of hurt and disappointment should an adult child decide not to visit home but I remember that I might have done the same thing so, hopefully, I can just growl to myself and move on (something I’m really not very good at). However, on the flip side, I can now fully appreciate my own great joy and satisfaction in having an adult child walk through the front door.