The college kid returns

And he’s brought his dirty socks, unopened toothpaste and sword (??) home with him

Jodi Mackie and her son, Tyler, share a moment during his high school graduation from Timberlane Regional High School. Courtesy photo.

There are tears when you walk out of your child’s dorm room on move-in day. I was almost prepared for those tears; they’re an inevitable rite of passage.

What I was not prepared for were the tears that come on move-home day, when your calm, quiet, clean house implodes under the weight of your child’s college dorm room come home. As every last dirty bed sheet, sock (that can walk on its own), half-used notebook and unused hygiene product gets dropped all over your dining room where your child likely intends to leave it until summer’s end, you hold your chin high while choking back the tears.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy my son is home, but here’s how move-home day goes:

» Open a bin to find a dirty sock mixed in with some text books, office supplies, a can opener and all the stamps he never used. You sort that bin and open the next one to find yet another dirty sock. It doesn’t match the last one. Are there dirty socks in every bin? That’s the game apparently. How does he not have foot fungus?

» Is there a dead animal in that bag? Nope, just his soccer goalie gloves. Phew, because I thought it was going to be gross. Oh, wait.

» Is that the five-pack of toothpaste I sent with him just completely unopened, the wrapper fully intact? Did he even brush his teeth this whole year? (Cue a mother’s heart palpitations.) Are his teeth falling out of his head? I better go check.

» Wonderful, here are all of those vitamins and healthy snacks I packed for him. Did he eat nothing but junk the whole year? He’s going to get scurvy or rickets or something. Does he look yellow to you? Go check him.

» Laundry. So much laundry.  Did he just run around naked up there when the clothes ran out? I sent laundry money. What else did he use the cash for?

» Oh look, a sword. Actually, two swords and a poker set. I guess I know where the laundry money went.

Tyler, Jodi and Kevin Mackie on a family vacation along the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee. Courtesy photo

» Oh, these bed sheets. Please tell me these fell on the ground in a pile of mud when you were loading the car. Did these things ever get washed? I can’t ask. Don’t even think about the college dorm bed. Just don’t.

» Cards from home — aw, he really saved all of these. Maybe his soccer bag doesn’t smell so bad. Nope, still gross. But it’s so sweet he saved these.

» This mess. Where will we put all of this stuff? Will he ever use any of this again?

» I need a nap. After I wash my hands, because they are gross.

» Wait, (yells upstairs) — “hey kid, take a shower, just for good measure and maybe brush your teeth. A few times.”

Thank God, my baby is home.

Jodi Mackie is a Plaistow native and University of New Hampshire graduate whose son, Tyler, attended Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow.

Categories: My Turn