It is and is not how I expected it would be, living day to day as a family of three.
Small things trip me up. Then again it's always the small things that trip you up, because the big things you know to look out for.
Changing the college student's bed and musing, "This won't need to be changed again until after Thanksgiving."
Passing by the college student's room and seeing the covers pulled up and neat, undisturbed. Even the cats have stayed away.
Racing out the door on a weekday afternoon to take the teen to the orthodontist, then stopping short to unlock the door because "older teen will be coming home and has no key," and finally, realizing the mistake, leaving the door locked.
Buying much less food, buying different kinds of food, not needing to buy particular favorites.
And the house feels quieter, of course.
What makes it all fine -- better than fine, really -- is how happy the college student seems. How settled, already, in only a few weeks.
Also this: At the end of a text to me about his classes and how they are going, he wrote, "And how are things on your end?"
There, spy the looking outward, the care for others (distinctly not a teenager's strength) on the screen. I had forgotten that one of the primary functions of the university is to help mold teenagers into adults. How that happens (and so quickly) I don't know, but it does.
Yet come to think of it I do remember my first trip home from college, when I walked into the apartment and all at once felt a little dizzy. The angles and planes were off, somehow. The rooms looked smaller. It was almost as if I had entered a funhouse.
So now I am eager to meet my son anew at Thanksgiving, and see for myself the growing he's done, and smile knowingly as he exclaims, "The house seems different!" The house won't have changed a bit.