They ALL came home last weekend. The oldest brought his wife and kid. The youngest brought his dirty laundry. The third brought his freshly minted college diploma – plus everything he ever took to college: computer, bedding, his ever expanding library, plants and trees to plant in our yard and all his paperwork for grad school. It was his weekend to shine as the graduate – and to trash our living room with the flotsam of his undergraduate years.
His college graduation was our excuse for a weekend family reunion and a lot of cooking and cleaning. Thursday, my daughter and I peeled potatoes, stirred up sauce, grated cheese and made cookie dough for the weekend feasts. With the rush of weekend activities, our prepared food was a good idea. We worked hard another two evenings cleaning the house in anticipation of the boys’ arrival. With all the stuff they brought home, I don’t know why we bothered.
By the time the last one arrived Saturday night, the living room, foyer and kitchen overflowed with books, blankets, baggage and baby stuff. There was barely room for my swelling maternal pride.
I took care of some of that pride when I showed off my grandbaby at the office Friday afternoon before leaving work. I shared a tad bit more swapping stories with the proud father behind me at graduation. I parceled out more when my son agreed to wear his cap and gown for a grand entrance as we visited his grandfather after graduation.
If the living room was cluttered with stuff, the weekend was cluttered with stuff, the weekend was cluttered with one activity after another. Saturday morning before baccalaureate, my husband and I bought and packed food for a family picture along wth cameras for the graduation. We even managed to fit in the garage sale we saw with all the baby items on display. But garage sales, cluttered house and picnic lunch preparations faded when we saw our son, with his black cap and gown, enter the auditorium. I guess a couple hundred other students marched with him. I really don’t know, only one mattered to me.
My son the graduate. We anticipated this from the day he was born. He began counting the time until graduation as an elementary student. A couple years ago, we held our breaths and hope he would recover enough to finish college when a serious illness forced him to drop out for a while. I was one teary-eyed, proud parent.
And then it was all over. We were carrying out his plants, boxes of books and bedding when the summer semester dorm students began carrying in their boxes to fill the space he left.
Once home, his belongings filled the living room with the thoroughness of a spring tornado. Monday his brothers left and he sorted through the debris, stacking everything neatly in the boys’ old bedroom. There it stays until he vacates it for grad school in the fall – leaving behind another neat, empty room.