Monday, April 28, 2014


It had been four months since we’d seen College Girl, so of course everyone wanted maximum face time with the family VIP when she came to Napa for Easter.
Let’s go shopping together for an Easter outfit, said mom.
Check out my cactus garden, said Grandpa.
Come with me to my boyfriend’s track meet, said one sister.
Watch me breed my rabbits, said the other sister.
After a few suspicious sniffs, even the dog wanted to hang out with her.
I was in a good mood all weekend. College Girl’s sisters were probably wondering what had come over mom. I said yes to almost everything. I took the girls to the mall and out to dinner almost every night. At Target, I let them talk me into buying both the new Hobbit movie and “Frozen.”
At Starbucks, instead of our usual $2 rule, my husband turned into Daddy Warbucks and told everyone to get whatever they wanted.
College kids, if you haven’t visited home lately, you should definitely reconsider. Us mom and dads miss you and want to buy you all the Frappuccinos and hot panini sandwiches you can eat.
The teenager who comes home from college is really something.
They’ve got swagger. Attitude. Chutzpah. They’ve lived away from mom and dad long enough to appreciate in-house laundry service, free food and a full tank of gas, but they’ve also got that new almost-20-something confidence.
They have been thrust out into the wilderness and survived. Kind of like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away”: “I have made fire. I. Have made fire.”
College Girl even surprised mom a couple of times over the weekend.
When one Huffman daughter complained about not having any spending money, College Girl laid it out for her.
You need to get a job, she told her sister.
When another Huffman daughter warned her sister about saying anything that might make for good column material, College Girl shrugged her shoulders as if to say, “So what?”
That’s not to say the oldest Huffman is all that. Mom had to put the kibosh on the swearing.
I don’t care how old you are, your mother doesn’t want to hear four-letter words coming out of your mouth.
By the time we sat down to Easter dinner, I started getting sad feelings.
College Girl had to go back to college. Mom and Dad had to go back to work. There would be no more spoiling. No more shopping.
She left early on Monday morning to catch a 6:30 a.m. flight.
I looked inside her room after she left. I’d gotten used to seeing her in there again, sitting on her bed with her laptop, clothes spilling out of her suitcase on the floor, blankets and pillows thrown around.
But that morning, the room was empty. Her pile of clothes and the suitcase were gone. She had even made her bed.

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