When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again…Revisited

We just moved youngest daughter Gwen home from college for the summer.   It’s so great to have her sweet little face around the house again!   Not that I’ve actually seen her face. She sleeps during the day and stays up all night.   Her tromping up the stairs at 4:15 to go to bed yesterday MORNING woke me from a fitful sleep.

I think it’s time for a little chat.  It’s also time for a replay of this post from last summer.

Welcome home! Park the laundry U-Haul in the driveway…

WHEN JOHNNY COMES MARCHING HOME AGAIN…HURRAH?

When your kids go away to college they enter the Grownup Twilight Zone.

They enjoy most of the privileges of adulthood with few of the responsibilities.  (One doesn’t count the minimal coursework required to keep one’s academic head above water.)  It is the best of both worlds for them.

Although technically adults, as they will constantly remind you, most have the survival skills of newborn possums.

It’s a shock to everyone’s system when they come home for the summer.  They are used to doing whatever they want, whenever they want, without parental supervision.  You, on the other hand, are used to getting a good night’s sleep.  You may also be used to moving freely through your own home without tripping over shoes, clothes and fast-food debris, dropped wherever the whim of the moment dictates.

Suddenly, everything changes.

I cried myself to sleep when our now-20-year-old daughter, Gwen, went away last fall.  I was inspired to write Bye-Bye Baby; my first blog post intended for a wider audience than just immediate family.  Now that she’s back home, we’re engaged in Bedtime Battles and Curfew Wars.

Gwen is a night owl.   My husband routinely stumbles downstairs at 2am to find her watching TV in the dark; eyes big with the glazed stare of the undead.   I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that – that’s just how some people are.  But unless you are a working vampire, staying up past 3am and sleeping until 2 in the afternoon smacks of slothfulness.  It also seems the kind of behavior that increases the odds that this child will end up as a permanent resident of my basement.

I guess I have more of a Poor Richard’s Almanac prejudice in me than I thought: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

If I’m being honest I must admit to being a bit jealous.  If I have to get up early to hustle to work, how come she doesn’t?  Don’t get me wrong – she has a job.  But with the economy as bad as it is,  she isn’t getting many hours, and those few are all in the evening.

Although I grumble about her sleeping habits, that’s not the big issue.  It’s her ignoring curfew that makes me crazy.

We had a little talk when she first got home.  I said I expected her to be home by midnight on weekdays, as a courtesy to her father and me.  She rolled her eyes so violently I thought they would stick that way.

I know that if she were at school she could dance naked in a fountain all night and I wouldn’t have a clue (unless she called for bail money.)   But that’s the thing – I wouldn’t know it.  When she’s at home, I know when she’s not at home.  I can’t fully sleep when I know my baby is out-and-about in the wee hours, the probable next victim of every drunk driver or ax murderer on the streets.

I worry.  Call me a bad mom.

Gwen seems to think of the curfew as more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule.  This has lead to several unpleasant skirmishes, with resentment all around.

We didn’t have this problem with Liz, our oldest, probably because she was working a lot more hours, and had to be up early to get to her job.  Rebelling about staying out late isn’t an issue when you fall asleep on the couch at 9.

This summer has flown by.  Gwen will be going back to school in just one week.  Soon, there will be no more arguments.  I will enjoy peaceful nights of sleep, and an unimpeded stroll through my tidy home.

And, once again, I will miss my little girl more than I can say.

Time to lay in a fresh supply of Kleenex.

Advertisements

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
This entry was posted in General Ramblings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again…Revisited

  1. lexiesnana says:

    hahahahahah I wrote about the same thing once in This Old Womans Shoe is Empty,Good Luck this summer

    Like

  2. Lenore Diane says:

    I remember returning home for the Summer, and I remember being more than ready to head back to school. It is a state of Twilight Zone. I’m not sure my Mom shed tears though. By the 6th kid, she knew they’d be back. 🙂

    Like

  3. gojulesgo says:

    I have the same prejudice, Peg! I feel so guilty/lazy if I ‘sleep in’ past 8 or 9 on the weekends. There’s a chance your daughter will grow out of her night owl habits (I used to be one in high school), but hopefully you won’t even know because she won’t be living in the basement 😉

    Like

  4. So true. We have no idea what goes on when they are away, but when they come home, we are hyper-aware of everything. I used to consider checking into a motel when my kids came back for school break.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Hey, that’s a great idea! Someplace with a jacuzzi and room service.

      Like

        • pegoleg says:

          Katy, are you just blowing smoke up my shorts, which is the most fun I’ve had in a long time, or are you seriously suggesting we do this thing????

          Like

          • k8edid says:

            Peg, darling. Would I blow smoke up your shorts (or that gorgeous skirt you were wearing in yesterday’s photo?) Surely you jest. I am in. How about one of us (maybe the one with the red heels) float a post out there to see if people are truly interested AND would commit to doing it. I think Darla, Lenore, Jules and I are pretty much a given…I am almost in tears (of joy) thinking about it – I don’t get out much.

            Having said that, I meet with my surgeon next week and he may have altogether different plans for me this summer. I’ll keep you posted.

            Like

    • Motel, huh? Thanks, Renee. I will jot this idea down for when my kids are older…

      Like

  5. 4:15! I’m calling my parents to tell them how lucky they were that the latest I ever came in was 1:30.

    It’s impossible for me to sleep past 8 on weekends. Im-possible.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I know – I couldn’t believe it! We had our chat and she agreed that was a bit excessive.
      I can sleep til 9, but then I feel like I’ve wasted half the day.

      Like

  6. bigsheepcommunications says:

    My baby is home for the summer too, as evidenced by the spike in our grocery and water bills (at least he’s clean and well fed).

    Like

  7. How is it that two who grew up together, had the same rules, same parents, etc. can be so different?

    Like

  8. Sandy Sue says:

    Oh, dear. I remember this from last summer. Keep us posted!

    Like

  9. pattisj says:

    They just don’t understand what it is like to be a parent. 🙂

    Like

  10. So this is what I have to look forward to? Oh lordy. Like I don’t worry enough as it is, but when you throw naked fountain-dancing and ax-murderers into the mix…I think I’ll be staying at a motel.

    I used to be a night owl, I’d roll in around 2:30 am, get up at noon. Still I worked full time (not at candle store but at L.L. Bean’s) but it drove my mom batty. She’d yell, “Darla! The day is already over! I’m eating lunch and you’re just getting up! Jeezum crow!”

    Like

  11. Al says:

    This brought back so many memories that I broke into a cold sweat. When exactly did sleeping at night go out of fashion?

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It has something to do with the age, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. All she needs is a full-time job and she’ll be right as rain!

      Like

  12. k8edid says:

    I seldom sleep pasts 5:00 a.m. I hate it. Of course, I am face down by 10:00 p.m.

    Like

  13. Tar-Buns says:

    So glad Gwennie is home again with you. Glad you are trying to relax more – that helps your blood pressure, too you know 🙂 Give her my love and enjoy this precious summer whilst you can!

    Like

  14. Custer.
    That dude hogged all the drier sheets.
    (I have no clue that actually is Custer… but… you know… when you stay up all night the details start to blur a bit.)
    🙂

    Like

  15. mj monaghan says:

    Peg, we had one like this. He moved out last November. Fortunately, he was quiet, but he did sleep till 1 or 2 in the afternoon. Probably still does, but like you say, as long as we don’t know about it, it’s fine. 🙂

    Like

  16. Janu says:

    I heart Liz and Gwen!

    Like

  17. Worrywart says:

    So I’m normal!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I wouldn’t go quite that far…

      Like

      • Worrywart says:

        Our son moved back in this week, and already the crotchety neighbor, Erland, is complaining about the “blinding” light that is on in our son’s room all night long.

        Like

        • pegoleg says:

          That’s what you get for building within 6 inches of the neighbor’s house.

          Like

          • Worrywart says:

            He lives across the street and we each have half an acre. I’d hate to think what life would be like if he was six inches away (he keeps buckets in his driveway so people cannot turn around, and he built a fence around his yard which includes a portion of the fence OVER a 10 foot boulder). We’re planning to sell the house, and I’m wondering if I need to disclose him in the sales contract.

            Like

  18. Angie Z. says:

    This sounds very familiar. That year I came home from college, I almost remember more battles than when I was in high school. That’s really saying something. I think my dad asked me every hour of every day for a week whether I had a job yet. And, yes, I remember seeing the sun come up a few mornings because I hadn’t went to bed yet. The next summer I stayed in my college town and we were all a whole lot happier. Nonetheless, it must be very special to have her home again. Enjoy!

    Like

  19. carolyn wallace says:

    Weren’t we just talking about this subject last week? I think adult kids (so they say) returning home is very complicated. It’s not easy to see them as adults (because they aren’t totally responsible, yet), nor do the kids realize what a struggle it is for the parent(s).

    In the meantime, these are the days of our lives…

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You’re so right. I have to remind myself that they are home for such a short time, and to treasure the time we have together. In fact, it’s 1pm on Sunday now, and just as soon as I get done here, I’m heading home to have some quality time with Gwen! If I can wake her up. 🙂

      Like

  20. Dana says:

    Ha! I’m lucky if I can wake up before 8 am on a good day, so I get where Gwen is coming from. Then again, I work 12-14 hours every day and am lucky to get home from work before midnight, so that might have something to do with my errant sleeping schedule…

    Good luck having your daughter back at home this summer! I’m sure there will be a period of readjustment, but if your nerves are ever feeling shot, just remember that you *did* cry yourself to sleep when she left for college. Enjoy the time you have together now! 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Good advice, Dana. It’s just that her body clock is the total opposite of mine so I never get to see her. I hope she gets a job soon and starts more regular hours. I’m going to make a point of doing some things together.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s