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Even when kids are gone, Their Stuff finds its way back to Mom

Once those kids go away to college, then you get to go through the years of moving them back and forth ... a little phenomenon I like to call When Their Stuff Comes Home From College.

As if it's not gut-wrenching enough moving them away, at school year's end you have to laboriously haul all their stuff back home again, only to go through the entire goodbye/upheaval process yet again when you move them back at the end of the summer.

For us, this year is a little different. While the kids' stuff will indeed be trekking back home, they, on the other hand, will not. That leaves me a little conflicted. For a minute, I told them that next year they should just keep their residence year-round where they're attending college, so we don't have to move them back and forth just for a couple of months, but then I caught myself.

Because that would mean they're never coming home. Nope, not ready for that.

Anyway, Their Stuff comes home all in a whirlwind, and I must say it's heartwarming how excited the dogs get when they see Their Stuff and how enjoyable it is to see Their Stuff lying around all over the house, under foot and over the furniture. Just like old times.

Once again, Their Stuff really doesn't pull its weight around the house, and sometimes gets sassy when I insist on it. In many ways, Their Stuff is all take and no give and only lets its presence be known when Their Stuff wakes me up in the middle of the night to irrationally hysterical laughter.

Wait, no. That's how it is when my kids really are home. Their Stuff just sits quietly in piles, reminding me once again how dangerously close I am to hoarder status and how badly I need to either clean house or move to more square footage.

It reminds me that I have two material girls who are out galavanting while I'm stuck here at home with their stuff and bringing home the bacon. Do I really have to wait until I'm in a nursing home to have them working for me? That just doesn't seem fair.

So this is the situation du jour. As always, it changes from year to year. I'm still holding on, loving those kids despite their excitement at not being home this summer, and yes, a little anxious about the whole thing, because big change looms ahead.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Given the choice of no stuff and no kids, I'll gladly take the stuff, as long as the kids come with it. These adult encounters with my grown kids can at times seem surreal, but of course it's a joyful time as well. Change happens in an instant, and this time is no exception.

So here's to a great summer for all. For them, exciting things are ahead. And surely for myself, as well. Just don't know what.

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