Our oldest daughter is coming home. I am so anxious to see her, but my excitement is tempered slightly by just a little trepidation.

Coming home. To our home. It is the home where she grew up (well, one of two since we had a different house when she was younger) and the home she left when she started college. In reality, it may no longer be her home.

Hannah in LondonShe has been living abroad for a year, getting her master’s degree in London. In the meantime, we have dutifully been the keepers of her stuff. Her bedroom is full of her stuff, and a good portion of the basement contains stuff from her college apartments.

Now, as her homecoming is imminent, I may have realized what it doesn’t mean more than what it does mean. It doesn’t mean that this will be permanent. Far from it.

We know for a fact that her London lifestyle will not fit in our small city. We are reasonably certain that her career goals will not land her something she wants in our community, either. And so we fully expect to be a temporary stop for her on her journey to next adventure-time.

We also know for a fact that she is not the teenager who left at age 18 to begin her studies at a major university, nor is she the 22 year old college grad who over-packed her suitcases a year ago and flew across the ocean to bravely begin a quest for a post-grad degree in one of the world’s largest cities. She is an adult, albeit an unemployed adult at this moment, and we are prepared to treat her like an adult. Having been her parents for so long, these new roles may not flow easily for her or for us. But with a lot of love and respect, I believe we will work it out.

She is welcome to stay for as long as she likes. That will never change. As long as we have a home, our daughters can share it. At the same time, we are certain that it truly is a wayside stop for her now and increasingly for her college-age sister. Our goal for them is that their childhood home becomes a launching pad as they move into new phases in their lives. It’s still a hardship to watch them struggle, and a thrill to watch them soar.

We will stand by, ready to help when asked and to give advice from time to time. But her job search is hers to manage. We hope to give her a roof over her head for a little while, so that she can take off again in a new and positive direction.

It’s an exciting and scary time for her and for us. But for now I’ll be happy just to greet her at the airport. I’ll be the one with the tissues.


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