Tomorrow night Russell comes home for a class reunion and a few days at home. The sense of excitement and anticipation at the Webner household is palpable.
Their favorite foods are culled from a mother’s loving memory, purchased at the neighborhood grocery store, and made available for ready consumption. (Hey, does Russell really still like Fruit Roll-Ups?) Their rooms are carefully cleaned, sheets are freshly laundered, and beds are made with a precision that would make a drill sergeant smile. Ample supplies of beer and snacks are laid in for the duration. And, typically, a few new decorative touches get added to the household mix.
Phone calls and text messages are nice ways to keep in touch, and an occasional, surreptitious look at a Facebook page might provide some useful information about how things are going, but nothing satisfies that parental itch like an in-person visit. How else are you supposed to really know whether your child seems to be eating enough and looks healthy and happy with his life? Even if your kids aren’t big soul-confiding talkers — and boys tend not to be — you can still glean so much from random quiet moments, a dinner at the kitchen table, and a few smiling, sidelong glances at the strapping young men who used to be the tow-headed little boys fooling around on the front step.