Jewish World Review Oct. 26, 2001 / 9 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

College Son the Invisible Man -- THERE'S nothing as heart-warming to a mother as having her college kid phone and announce that he's coming home for the weekend.

Ours came home Friday. He caught a ride with a friend. They left campus after dinner, hit the city limits around 8, were only blocks from the house when the turned in the opposite direction and drove directly to a friend's house. Then a bunch of them went out to see a movie.

He finally got to our house about 12:30 a.m. We'd gone to bed at 11.

I shook my husband and said, "Listen, is that him?"

"Of course that's him," he said. "Don't you not recognize his shuffle on the stairs?"

"I just wanted to be sure it's not a burglar."

"Do you think a burglar would blast a stereo like that when it's almost 1 a.m.?" He asked.

"Of course not. You're right, honey," I said. I rolled over and drifted back to sleep feeling all snug and cozy that the entire family was under one roof again.

The next morning the kid slept late. We finally saw him Saturday before noon in the kitchen. He was darting from the refrigerator to the cupboards to the garage.

"It's sure good to have him around again, isn't it?" asked my husband.

"I think so," I said. "Actually, all I've really seen is the backside of him and I'm not willing to make a positive ID. Are you sure that wasn't the plumber here to work on the dishwasher?"

"Of course not." my husband snapped. "And it certainly wasn't the plumber in the shower for 30 minutes draining the hot water heater."

"You're right. It had to be him. Besides, I'd know this empty Wheaties bowl anywhere, and the empty orange juice container in the 'fridge and the empty Pop Tarts box by the toaster. It just kind of puts a lump in your throat, doesn't it?"

"Sure does," hubby answers.

"Who's revving a motor in the drive?" I ask. "Is the plumber leaving already?"

"No," my husband says. "Didn't you realize what he was doing in the kitchen and garage? He was packing for a fishing trip. He'll be gone overnight."

"Wait! Wait!" I yell, running to the window.

"Did you see him?"

"I sure did," I say, wiping a tear from my eye. "Caught the back of his head driving down the street. That cowlick has been bad since the day he was born. Gosh, it's good to have him home."

Believe me, it could be a lot worse. A neighbor got all excited because her daughter was coming home for the weekend. It turned out the girl was ordered home by the student health center because she had mono. Another friend was so thrilled when her son said he was coming home that she spent three days preparing food for the weekend. The kid slept for 36 hours straight. Three months later they're still eating leftovers.

I walked by the washing machine and noticed a bulging laundry bag leaning against the dryer. I figured the kid coming home for the weekend would have its warm moments, I just didn't know they would be when I pulled hot denim our of the dryer. Two loads of laundry were cleaned, folded and sitting on his bed in 90 minutes.

He got home from camping Sunday noon and spent an hour unpacking all the outdoor gear. After that he dashed over to a neighbors to say hello, then returned and parked himself in front of a computer to take an on-line test for a science class.

We drove him back to campus about 4 p.m. At least we drove somebody back to campus. Male, about 19, sound asleep in the back seat with a jacket pulled high and a hat pulled low. I'm pretty sure it was ours. The portable CD player and backpack looked very familiar.

"It was sure good to see you, sweetie," I said, as we helped unload his gear from the trunk. "Come home anytime. And maybe next time we could even get to see your face."

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman