My Scrambled Nest

An Almost-Empty Nest Journey of "Letting Go" With Laughter and Love, By Cathy Free

My perpetually hungry college freshman came home for fall break a few days ago and will be back in his old room until next weekend, sending our food budget into the stratosphere and our cat into a permanent state of confusion. It took almost two months for her to stop yowling at night in my son’s bedroom (he is her favorite family member), and she still leaps to the top of his door frame and slides down like it’s a fire pole every time he comes home for Sunday dinner.

Now, that he’s once again lounging on his futon sofa and cranking up his favorite Bob Dylan tunes, I’m afraid that her little feline mind is permanently muddled. Every couple of hours, she’ll stroll into his room, sit in front of him and glare as if to say, “How dare you! If you disappear again, you can count on a few surprises in your favorite slippers.”

Even with the fridge opening and closing every 10 minutes, it really is nice to have my boy home again. And he’s thrilled to have a week to sleep in and a break from cramming until midnight for chemistry exams, even if it does mean putting up with a few antics from moi.

As soon as he walked in the door last weekend, I started singing John Denver’s “Back Home Again,” sending my son (and the cat) scurrying to the basement laundry room for cover. Not to be deterred, I stood at the top of the stairs and amped the volume:

๐ŸŽถ”Hey, it’s good to be back home again;
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend…Yes, ‘n, hey it’s good to be back home again!”๐ŸŽถ

“Noooooo! STOP!” he shouted from below, just as he used to in the third grade when I’d sing Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” to remind him that it was time to practice his piano scales. Ahhh, yes. Memories. They light the corners of my mind.

The truth is that for me, whenever I do something once or twice, it becomes a tradition. So when it comes time to take my son back to his dorm on Sunday, I already have an encore planned for the car ride: “So Long, Farewell,” from his least favorite movie soundtrack, “The Sound of Music.”

๐ŸŽถ”Adieu! Adieu! To you and you and you-oo!” ๐ŸŽถ

Now thatย ought to go over like a polecat at a picnic. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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