Home for the Holidays - College Edition

Posted on Dec 9th 2020 by Toni Woods

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Starting college in 2020 has been odd for our daughter, Mia, and thousands of other freshmen. Only two of her classes met in person, yet that was more than any of my friends' kids had, with most of their classes online. Masks were required everywhere on campus, inside and out. She never even met her dorm RA in person - they were only allowed to do Zoom meetings. No social gatherings in the dorm.

However, Mia made the most of her first college semester. In addition to earning all A's, participating in an online play and being cast in a Spring play, she and her three roommates went out often to socially distanced, masked-up outdoor events on campus like football games, concerts and shows. She went to Universal Studios five times with them or her theatre friends, learned to grocery shop, participated in honors college events, did two Secret Santa swaps and enjoyed a potluck Friendsgiving. Because most of her fun was on campus or at other places that required masks, she managed to stay healthy and not catch the coronavirus.

Last week, she took a COVID-19 test (negative) and headed home for Thanksgiving. As most colleges are doing this fall, the last two weeks of her semester are online so students don't return to campus with the virus in tow. 

That means Mia is home for the holidays, for six weeks!

We had our traditional Thanksgiving dinner in a non-traditional setting as suggested by health officials - outdoors - and it was wonderful. It was a warm, sunny day. We put my mother's lace tablecloth on the patio table and used the good china. I pictured the Peanuts gang at their outdoor Thanksgiving feast and decided they had it right.

The following Monday was a little strange as life got back to normal. My husband and I are still working from home due to the pandemic, but Mia hadn't been home doing online classes since May. I moved my computer back out to the kitchen table. Just hearing her online in another room felt...odd. As strange as it was when she left, now it was strange with her back. It felt like having a new person in the office.

Last night my husband awoke in the middle of the night, suspecting a stranger was in the house. It was Mia in the bathroom. He laughed at himself for forgetting she was home. He hadn't quite adapted to her being home yet, either.

This week I've been tempted to wake her up to make sure she's ready for class and remind her about homework. But I bite my tongue. She's been doing just fine on her own, I tell myself. She has straight A's her first semester of college, which is a lot better than I did (in fairness, I had several science classes that showed me physical therapy was not going to be my profession). It's really hard not to knock on her door, but it's also liberating to know I don't need to. 

Yesterday she got a callback for another role. When I went to bed I could hear her rehearsing in her room, and it felt like old times. Our house is full again and now it feels right.


Read more about Toni's adventures as an empty nester at: https://oneanddoneemptynesters.blogspot.com/

Filed under: Healthy Living  

Toni Woods

Toni Woods is a Senior Media Relations Lead for Florida Blue. She has worked in communications for more than 20 years in the health care, energy and sports industries, working with media around the world. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. You can read more about Toni's life as an empty nester here: https://oneanddoneemptynesters.blogspot.com/

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