(L-R) Jane, Alex, Brandon and Kevin Williams (Townsquare Media NJ)


I brought my daughter Alex home from Penn State yesterday for her holiday break and I’m thrilled at having her around for the next three weeks. At least I’m saying that now.

Kevin Williams with daughter Alex (Facebook)

This is the eighth(and final) time we’ve had a child come home from college at Christmas time so we know what to expect and I’m sure many of you do as well.  However while driving yesterday I thought back to 2004 when my son was a freshman at Penn State and what we experienced when he came home for that first extended break.

I remember quite well doing a Hometown View segment that seemed to resonate with quite a few listeners so as a public service I offer this to those parents whose sons and daughters are home from college for the next two, three or even four weeks. While they may have been back for a few days at Thanksgiving this return home is likely to be very much different.

Speaking of different, you are likely to find that the children you sent off to school in August are not quite the same as the ones returning to the nest for what they call a “vacation.”

First thing you are likely to deal with are the strange hours they now live by which might remind you of a vampire more than a teenager.  Flashing back to that winter break of 2004 I remember getting up for work around 2:30 and finding one of two things.  Brandon was either not home or if he was he would usually be watching TV or on his laptop. Rarely was he sleeping.

Speaking of sleeping,it it was an Olympic sport he might have had a shot at winning a gold medal.  You’ve heard of getting up at “the crack of dawn.”  He specialized in getting up at “the crack of noon” or even later.

What some of you will realize quickly is your kids have changed quite a bit in these last few months.  Not only might they act differently but their appearance has changed and it seems like they’ve gotten older by years, not months.  The boys especially seem to have no problem wearing the same jeans for days and you even question their grooming habits.  Is this really my child you might ask?

After about two weeks of dealing with their lifestyle you will come to grips that they are not the same children you sent off to school in the summer.  You might even get to the point where you’re looking forward to them leaving so your life can return to normal.  We called that the “out of sight, out of mind” moment.

I am certainly no expert on the subject but if you are about to experience this phenomenon for the first time then fasten your seat belt because it’s a roller coaster ride complete with loads of laundry.  The good news is…it does get better.