I am not talking about the Syrians trekking across Europe to escape the madness that is happening there. Nor am I talking about Mexicans heading back to Mexico because Señor Trump-Elect is building a wall. This is much closer to home, this is the migration that happens after the holidays around here and many other places: it’s the migration of kids heading back to college!
Some of the upper classmen drive back; others go by train, bus or plane. There are some that get a ride from good ol’ mom and dad. If the migrating one is the oldest, then there are still young ones hanging around the house and as they say, the beat goes on. If the migrator is the youngest, then the house transitions into an oasis of peace and calm that will be enjoyed for the next few months before the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day parade comes to town.
Ringling Brothers has decided to end its circus after 146 years. All the animals will be placed in homes and cared for over the rest of their lives. The workers and the rest of us, not so much!
When our college-aged kids are living with us, under the big top known as home, we worry about when they are coming home at night, who they are hanging out with, what’s going on in their lives. But when they go off to college, there is a tendency to sleep soundly through the night and simply text a couple of times a week. I guess the feeling is: hey, they are at college, all is safe and sound. The house is quiet and we have it all to ourselves. There is no one laying in bed ‘til two in the afternoon, or watching God-awful television shows from the couch eating chips and slurping a cherry-coke. Because we have our kingdoms to ourselves, we believe that everything is all right everywhere.
The memories of Friday and Saturday night parties at colleges and universities must be too distant a memory for many. But I am pretty sure they still happen. The thinking is, “you gotta give’em wings,” right? And college is a great test pilot system, not only for kids, who have to learn how to get up on their own, do laundry, feed themselves, and oh yeah, do schoolwork. It’s also a great test pilot system for adults! It’s not easy taking a step back and re-learning what to do with free time! When you leave a room and come back to it, everything is where you left it. When you wash dishes and put them away, they don’t magically reappear in the sink again. There are usually only one or two towels in play at any one time. Laundry becomes a once a week project, rather than an everyday thing. The first month is heaven! But then we start to miss those little devils, and we look forward to their return, and then we realize it’s only February. The bonds are strong that bind.
And before you know it, the circus is back in town. No, not Ringling Brothers, but St. Patrick’s Day! And the parade brings everyone home again, and after the hugs and kisses and corned beef and cabbage, the kiddos say, “Just going out for a little while.” The first text is usually launched about 1 am, followed by intervals of texts and calls, until finally the dawn brings them all home again.
And then the migration happens all over again. And you know what, we probably wouldn’t have it any other way despite our worries and complaining about it. I know for sure the Syrians would love to have this as their main problem, so would the Mexicans, probably so would Ringling Brothers, and in the end so do we.