It’s mid-morning on Friday, and she’s still asleep.
She’s been sleeping a lot since we brought her home. I guess that’s normal, but I don’t know. My wife and I are new at this. We don’t know what to expect. Nobody does, really. At least not the first time. I suppose it eventually will get easier, but for now, my wife and I are flying blind.
We just don’t know how to handle a college freshman home for Christmas break.
We picked up our 18-year-old daughter, Emma, at her college last Friday. On Saturday, she slept until 1 p.m. Later in the day, she took a nap.
On Sunday, Emma woke up at the crack of noon. By 4 p.m., she was asleep on our couch. She’s done basically the same thing all week.
More experienced parents tell us that this is perfectly normal behavior for a college freshman. But I’m not so sure.
“I didn’t sleep that much during my first semester break,” I told my wife.
“Did you study for your finals?” my wife said.
“There were finals?” I said.
When Emma hasn’t been sleeping, she’s actually been a lot of fun. I don’t know this for sure, but this year it seems as if Christmas means more to Emma.
When Emma was in high school, she told me that she didn’t feel the same way about Christmas as she did when she was younger. I told Emma what she was feeling was perfectly normal.
“It is?” she said.
“Yes,” I said.
“That’s sad,” she said.
And in a way, I guess it is sad. But I told Emma that as she got older, she might look at Christmas a bit differently, but that she would still find a way to enjoy the holiday.
Emma said she wasn’t so sure.
On Tuesday night, Emma and I made Christmas cookies. It was her idea. Emma wanted to make Christmas cookies using one of my dad’s recipes. We made the same cookies several years ago, and this year, Emma wanted to make them again.
While we worked in the kitchen, I told Emma that the cookie recipe we were using was likely my grandmother’s recipe.
My grandmother died long before Emma was born, so she thought the fact that we were using her great-grandmother’s original recipe was pretty cool.
I thought it was, too.
I also told Emma how, a couple of weeks before Christmas, my dad would start baking Christmas cookies, candy, fudge and a host of other treats. He would then place them in large coffee cans that he had lined with wax paper. Then he would seal them and hide them. I told her that I once asked my dad if he hid the cookies and candy from me and my six brothers and sister.
“No,” he said. “I hid them from your mother.”
My mother died long before Emma was born. Emma thought hearing the story about my mom was cool.
I thought it was, too.
On Thursday night, Emma and my wife made a gingerbread house. The two of them have been making gingerbread houses during Christmas since Emma was little.
For the past few years, making the gingerbread house seemed more like a chore than anything else. When Emma was in high school, she was more interested in being with her friends than making a gingerbread house with her mom.
But on Thursday, Emma told my wife that she was really looking forward to making their gingerbread house.
While the two of them worked in the kitchen, I stayed out of the way by watching football in our living room.
Hey, we all celebrate the season differently.
It’s been a couple of hours now, and Emma is still asleep. But that’s OK.
She’s home. She’s happy. And she’s safe.