Thanksgiving weekend is when all the college kids — well, the ones who aren't local —come home for the first time since August. How good it was to see Older Neighbor Boy! He had let his hair grown, thick and curling and falling into his face. It looked great, and he seemed so much older all of a sudden. He told us stories about living with five other guys in a suite so small that he had to keep his bike in the bathroom.
"What? You keep your bike in the bathroom? Don't the other guys care?"
"Well, I got there first, so I just slipped the bike in. So as far as they know, it's always been there.
"So they don't know what it's like to not have a bike in the bathroom."
"Exactly. They think it's normal."
Blonde Niece's friend NextHendrix hadn't cut his hair either; it hung dark and straight into the collar of his jacket. Pirate Boy had done the opposite; he had cut his long hair shorter, although it's still shaggy. Otherwise, he still seemed the same. We looked at the photos on his laptop, and he showed me how he had switched the "language" on his facebook page to Pirate.
FirstExtra was home, too, most of the weekend. But since he goes to Snowstorm University, rooms with Boy in Black, and comes here pretty often, none of us felt any surprise when we saw him. Plus, he's had the same haircut his whole life. He's our token "respectable" extra, who looks cleancut and has a steady job. Well, I guess Sailor Boy technically fits that category, since he has a military haircut and all kinds of responsibilities in the Coast Guard. But his recent promotion from seaman to coxswain led to a new influx of "That's what she said" jokes that didn't make him seem particularly respectable.
It was nice to see everyone for a few days, and they'll all be back soon for the long Christmas break. In the meantime, everyone is doing the work they need to get done before the semester ends. Boy in Black is settled on the couch with a physics textbook. Skater Boy, Blonde Niece, and Shaggy Hair are doing their calculus homework at the table, comparing answers and strategies as they work. I've started the binge-cleaning that I usually do this time of year, a chore preferable to the paper grading I'll be doing next weekend.
My parents were just here, minutes ago, to drop off a container of the turkey soup my mother always makes after Thanksgiving and to discuss our trip this weekend to see Drama Niece's play. The two little neighbor kids, Ponytail and Biker Boy, are playing on the floor with our wooden traintrack set. My husband and youngest son have gone out to the comic bookstore. Snow is falling outside. It's time to build a fire in the fireplace. Advent has begun.
Blonde Niece and Shaggy Hair Boy compare answers.