A College Mom’s Greatest Gift

I was always that mom who couldn’t wait for the long breaks from school. It started when my oldest was in kindergarten and continues to this day. 


Christmas and Summer breaks meant long stretches with my babies, a chance for time to slow down, and the gift of taking each day as it came. We fully embraced each one. We had our share of pajama days, playing in the playroom, baking, adventures in the snow, picnics, beach outings and more.


These breaks were – and are – the closest thing to a pause button for life that I’ve ever found. 


Now that both of my children are in college, that pause button is an even more valuable commodity. Moms and Dads of college kids – you know what I’m talking about. If we were aware of the passing years before – and I sure was – that awareness is now heightened. Just look how quickly half of a year of college has come and gone! I know it didn’t seem that way back in September when we were adjusting to missing them. 


But here we are. 


Breaks have evolved for us over the years, with “little kid” activities being replaced by “bigger kid” versions. More time with friends, and maybe jobs. It is only realistic to acknowledge that there might be a short period of adjustment as we all get used to being a family under one roof again.


Any adjusting is a small price to pay for the gift we moms (and dads) are about to receive. 


The pause button. 


Immersing in the completeness and joyful feeling of having our college kids home. Simple traditions like morning coffee runs, lounging in pajamas, watching Food Network specials, baking, going to see the light show at the “Christmas House” and more take on an extra indulgent feel. Our time apart has highlighted just how precious this time together is. Not just for us parents, but for our kids, too.


My junior had a packed quarter, filled with papers, projects, tests and field experience hours spent in various school classrooms (that were condensed into a tight timeframe due to a teacher’s strike). Her return for break involved several days to let go of the built up stress and ease into this new reality. All worth it though, because we’ve already shared shopping adventures, baking sprees, a Milwaukee day trip and more treasured time together. 


My freshman son just returned home, his first semester and so much growth under his belt. I’m looking forward to cooking him a few of his favorites, watching some of the new season of a favorite show he got me into and late night talks. 


But right now my mind is filled with thoughts of the week ahead. No matter what we do on our vacation, my heart will be happy and my soul will be content because we are together, savoring the pause – the best gift this college mom can imagine.

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