Here we are last year, having Thanksgiving 2020 at a card table in the family room. (The dining room table was loaded up with stuff we had moved out of the basement when it sprung a leak last fall.) This year, the dining room table is accessible.

My college student is coming home tonight for Thanksgiving break. His roommate’s parents went down this evening to pick up both of them. Bob or I will drive them both back to campus at the end of the break.

He’s a sophomore and is having a much, much better year than last year. Freshman year can be pretty stressful anyway, with students away from home for the first time trying to figure things out on their own. Living entirely in one room, with a stranger, can be tense, too, especially when they are both taking most of their classes there, too, online. Add to that last year’s more severe (but necessary) covid-related restrictions, and the fear of getting a disease hardly any of them could be vaccinated against until the last few weeks of the school year. He seemed stressed out for most of the year.

This year has been better. He and his roommate are a better fit than he was with last year’s roommate. They live in an on-campus apartment, only a few minutes away from his classes, and with enough space so they can be in different rooms, and even have room to leave their pianos set up. And he seems much better able to cope with the college workload this year. He hated online classes.

Still, I think he’s ready for a break. Fall break was last month, but it was only a long weekend. This time, they have all next week.

I’m not sure what we’ll do while he’s home. Chances are, he will want to sleep past noon each day and then play a lot of video games, watch movies, and stay up until the middle of the night. I’m OK with that. We’ll see friends (all of them vaccinated) on Thanksgiving. Besides that, I guess we’ll figure it out as we go along. I can guess he’ll want to eat a lot of pizza (including on Thanksgiving) and maybe get takeout from some favorite restaurants. And maybe I can get him to play the piano for me, if he doesn’t think that sounds too much like school. (He’s a music major.)

In any case, while none of that sounds like we have an exciting time planned, I am really looking forward to seeing him. I’m sure he thought I was terribly overprotective when he was younger. But as he’s gotten older, we’ve become best buddies. I am frequently his partner in insomnia. We’ll binge-watch science-fiction shows together, and maybe pull out a jigsaw puzzle. Or bake something chocolate.

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