New Realities of Motherhood

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Homecoming Rice Krispie Treats and Balloons

The first homecoming of my collegiate marked the greatest anticipation I have not felt in a long time. Our separation was three months but with the seasons changing it felt much longer. Aw, who am I kidding, it felt like forever since this was the first time we were apart for this length of time!

I felt the need to ready the house for her arrival. The need or excuse to nest again perhaps? Making sure her room was neat, but as she left it.  I stocked the fridge with 'teen' food I don't eat and fruit which I know she probably never eats. I put more pillows on her bed to make it look comfy and fluffy.  (In looking back on her first moments back in the house-  'the same' was important.  She was looking for things to look the same.  I was glad they did. I think considering all the past years changes and moves the house was more a home because it was the same.)

I cleaned the house like crazy- I don't know why as she's hardly a 'guest' - and put out new towels for her anyway  ( even though no one had used the previous ones on the rack since I first replaced them months ago).  I took the day off to bake those cookies for sensory memory provocation (fresh baked cookie smell), and make the requested chocolate peanut butter butterscotch rice krispie treats she was looking forward to finding in the fridge.  I bought balloons to greet her and drove as fast and as safely as I could to the airport.

For me it was a Hallmark moment.  Its funny how no one else manages to exist the moment your 'person' proceeds toward you on arrival from the gate. I yelled, "Katie!" completely lost in my emotion and moment,  unconcerned that anyone else was in the area. She cried when she saw me and we hugged like we put years of separation behind us and not months. I was glad she was home and she was glad too.

Then I thrust the balloon in her hand. Yes it was a bit embarrassing for her, but she knows how I  like to celebrate her so I hope she is seeing that part over the embarrassing part.  The symbolism a balloon at this moment... It was a welcome home, but also a symbol of a tradition from years ago.  Beginning 13 years ago when she stepped of the school bus for the first time and I greeted her coming home with a bright yellow smiley face balloon.

Every year after the first school year, I celebrated subsequent first days of school for her. Whether coming home on the bus, or picking her up from school, the first day was celebrated. The first year she drove to school on her own as a Junior in high school, because of the divorce, I had gone back to work and would not be home to greet her with the traditional treat.  So during my lunch time, I drove to school and  I left one for her on the front seat of her car while she was in class. The funny thing was when she found the box in her car at the end of the school day, she thought it was left by mistake and meant for someone else, so she turned it in to the office.  However, having never checked the card herself, fearing she would violate the the recipients privacy and surprise, the secretary confirmed for her that the gift was meant for Katie. The tradition was saved even that year. We talked about the first day when I got home from work.

The distance and timing of the first day at college presented other challenges to physically celebrating our reuniting after the first day. I will cherish her phoning me after her first class of college and hearing the century old KU steam whistle signal the end of class in the background during the call. But I missed being with her.

So this homecoming was also a postponed traditional celebration of her first 'day' at school. And the reunion after her first day.... neither time or distance managed to diminish for us. The greatest gift of parenting - celebrating forever firsts.


Anna C. Catalano said...

How wonderful, Lora! So glad your first college homecoming was wonderful! So nice to keep traditions up....they make up the tapestry of memories the kids will have for years to come!

Mom Of Many said...

What a beautifully written post, Lora. No doubt, all the 'traditions' have bonded you and Katie's hearts thankful you have such a treasure-girl to celebrate - how faithful God is!