For you parents who are sending your children off to college for the first time, I want to give you a word of advice. Please don't expect to be happy if/when your children move back home. It sucks... and your relationship with them will never be the same. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but it's better to realize this ahead of time. Don't set yourself up for the perfect homecoming and be very hurt and disappointed when it doesn't happen. And for those of you who are shocked that I'm writing this... and are worried about how hurt my children are going to be if they read it... Get a grip. My kids aren't happy either. They've been off on their own and they've learned a sense of independence. And they like it. They'd rather not have to move in with us. It's not a choice they would choose if they had other (financial) options. I know this. It's no secret. Sierra refers to us as her "roommates" instead of admitting that she lives at home again.
Knowing that they're not happy living at home gives me an overwhelming sense of satisfaction knowing that we raised them well. This is the way it's supposed to be. Bill Cosby once wrote that humans are the only animals that allow their children to return to the nest. Sometimes it's a necessary decision, but it should never be the ideal. You can't gain grown up, mature independence when you still live with mom and dad.
Now, having made my statement... I will concede that the fact we can all be under one roof again... and not kill each other or at least not throw things at one another is pure, God-given grace. And it is amazing. It's not all fun and games, but for the most part, we co-habitate in a civil manner. Most of the time. I'm sure I'll look back on this period and reminisce with fond memories... at least that is my hope. Until then I have to appreciate the reality of the situation. Even if it's not ideal, it's not completely horrible and not a threat to life and limb.
At least not yet.