Dear Shaina,

You’re home—and life hasn’t been the same since! I forget how much space a person can take up in your life—the stuff, the activity, the interface of our lives…and let’s not forget all those dishes.

It took about 15 minutes. The backpack moved from the car to the hallway to the laundry room with contents randomly dumped in their temporary destinations. Dirty clothes, assorted food items, gifts and more dirty clothes made their way through and around the house. Your tightly bound compact backpack belied nothing of the chaos that erupted from within when the straps were released. Really scary!

It didn’t take long for us to all “be at home” again. We all assumed our habitual roles—Mother, Father, Child—and behaved in accordance. What are your plans? What do you want for dinner? And please wash your dishes! I don’t know, I don’t know…silence.

The bblueberries in basketed is soft, the sheets are clean, the food is plentiful and the kitchen equipment is amazing, but it is just no fun living at home with your parents who ask really annoying questions. And want you to clean up after yourself. We get that. It’s not always fun for us either. We’re used to a lot more space in our lives, too.

That doesn’t mean I’m not thrilled to have you home. I love sharing the kitchen with you and helping you fill jars with flours and nuts and grains and spices I have never even heard of. I love watching you throw blueberries and spinach and apples and carrots and yogurt with a chunk of lemon rind into the Vitamix for my morning smoothie.

Despite almost burning down the kitchen while roasting nuts in the toaster oven on parchment paper (a critical teaching moment—you’ll never do that again!), despite the filmy grit on my granite countertops and the sticky refrigerator handle and despite the bits of spelt, chia and rye flour dusting the edges of my hardwood floor…I am so happy to have these days with you, watching you, being with you and loving you up close.

It doesn’t hurt that you picked up mahjong in a sitting and are willing to entertain your parents with a few games here and there.

I don’t know how long you’ll be here or where your next step will actually take you, but I am going to wring out every drop of this last little bit of mothering while I have the strength. Right now, I need a nap, though. Being a mother is exhausting!

I love you dearly. Welcome home, to your home…always!


P.S. Not much time for cooking, but I must do something with those gallons of last-of-the-summer blueberries we picked over the weekend!