You look great/tired/hungry/tall/grown up/smart/amazing! It's been a long time since your laughter filled the cold, empty void down the hall -- first door on the right, in case you forgot your former address. How long has it been?
I would venture a guess at 87 days, but who's counting?
How do you feel, when you walk through that door…
Home for the holidays, a few weeks at best.
Dropping your heavy duffel bag onto the floor by the front door while the dog slathers your face with welcome back kisses.
Same old home, same familiar spaces where you’ve spent most of your young life.
But maybe a bit foreign to you now.
Does it feel like home, like a place you’ve never left in your heart?
Or just a vaguely familiar memory?
When you walk down the hallway to your bedroom, do you see the little boy there, picking up jelly beans that the Easter Bunny left in a trail?
And in your room, your big boy room at the front of the house…
See that small boy standing at the window, waiting for the garbage truck?
He’s still there.
This empty room is still filled with him, everywhere I look.
And then, when you are here in the flesh – all over-six-feet of you with stubbly beard and deep voice – the room fills again but the memories are new.
No tucking-you-in at bedtime; no rushing to the window to greet the garbage man.
Do you still feel at home?
Or too anxious to get back to your new life?
With each visit home, you take a step further away.
That was the plan all along…
Simple words cannot express the pride I feel, watching you grow into a young adult.
But my heart misses that little boy sometimes…
This post originally appeared on Old Tweener