Studio Brunstrum

Back In The Nest

June 2, 2014

It has been two weeks since my two college children, Matt and Kelsey have returned home and Matt graduated from Indiana University.

It has been two weeks since my two college children, Matt and Kelsey have returned home and Matt graduated from Indiana University. What an emotional day. 

I was so proud of him - a huge accomplishment in four years especially after taking a semester off his sophomore year.  Big, fat, hot tears rolled down my cheeks when his name was called and he shook hands with the Dean at the KelIey School of Business graduation. Seeing him in his cap and gown at the University graduation, the day after, was also emotional as I realized he is onto the second chapter of his life. But now, he won't need me as much. I have been his mom for 22 years and letting go is tough.  However, I was also happy for me- one less tuition. There was no BOGO (buy one get one free) deal at Indiana! Two kids, two tuition payments. Now, just Kelsey’s tuition for two years! Then possibly law school for her.  My two birds are back in the nest and most likely it will be the last time all three of us live together. Oh, this is hard...Kelsey just for the summer. Matt until he lands a job in finance or investment management. We have agreed that he can live at home rent-free until the end of January to help him save money and then he will rent an apartment and move in with a fraternity buddy. Sound familiar? Many college kids are coming home after graduation and staying awhile. It is known as the "Boomerang Effect."  And as long as there is not a long-term "Failure to Launch", I am great with it. I’m not so sure they love being home as much as I love having them here, though.  Let me tell you, after two weeks, it has been an adjustment for all of us. They have been living on their own and so have I. Put us all back in the nest again and according to them, I “hen-peck.” Constantly. Oh, wait until they are parents some day! What I know for sure is that the college lifestyle is vastly different than our adult lifestyle!


1. College kids wake late (10 a.m. is early) and stay up even later (never in bed before 2 a.m.)  I am exhausted as I’ve been trying to stay up a bit later than usual (11 p.m. to midnight) to have time together.

2. College kids are glued to their phones. They are constantly group texting, snap chatting and Instagramming. I keep reminding them to pick up the phone and just call. Talk to a live body!

3. College kids need their phones to navigate but they never really know exactly where they are. Where is Glenview from Libertyville? North? Wrong. They have a general idea but it is a bit fuzzy...

4. College kids have their laptops or tablets within arm’s reach, day or night. Instant access and always plugged in.

5. College kids have the TV on throughout the day as background noise and chatter. I must admit, that drives me crazy. I prefer a little peace and quiet to think and contemplate.

6. College kids social plans are always fluid and come together at the very last minute. So making family plans in advance can be a bit tricky. We now have a rule, if I make plans and their calendar is empty, they can’t not attend and do something else!

7. College kids are messy. They plop their stuff anywhere, everywhere and wherever. Will I ever see my hardwood floors or countertops again? However, I have come home to dinner on the table two nights in a row. Not bad!

8. College kids forget to tell you where they are going and when they will be home.  My mantra… “I don't really need the details, it is just courteous and respectful to let me know the basics so I don't worry.”

I will let you know at the end of the summer how we have all survived! Or if they put me in a nursing home at an early age as I might be ready.

Susan Brunstrum
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