They’re settled in the dorm.  You’ve been to Parents Weekend.  Somedays you’re exhilarated and proud that they’re doing so well.  Other days you’re ambushed by a memory that makes you ache with the missing.  While you’re careful not to let them know how you feel on those days,  do we ever think that they might be feeling the same things?  That in those moments before sleep comes, in a room with a person who is still a stranger, that their hearts ache and they want to call to tell you they miss you, that they’re homesick, that this isn’t as easy as they thought it would be.

An email from Matt this week:

“I was in CVS the other day and a woman and her teenage daughter were buying candy for the son at college.  The teenage daughter was saying that it was way too much candy and in my mind I thought:  No, it’s never too much.  The more absurd and ridiculous the package, the better-especially in the beginning.  Getting way too much is always more comforting than getting too little or even just enough.  You want to laugh it off, say your mom is crazy, pretend it’s even a little annoying when really the very comfort is in the crazy.”

Isn’t that what a “care package” is?  It’s all your love, all your pride, and all your missing, re-packaged in to candy, homemade cookies, favorite snacks, little treats that are so specific that they say to them “it’s you that I miss”.   The empty box is the empty room.  Go ahead and fill it up.  The comfort runs both ways.


The Steaks:  Allow steaks to come to room temperature.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Place cast iron pan in oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  Remove pan from oven and place on burner on high heat.  Add steaks and cook one minute per side.  Return steaks to the oven and cook 3.5 minutes per side for medium rare.  Remove to plate and tent for 10 minutes.   Perfect steaks every time.

Warm Turnip Salad: based on Charlie Parker’s recipe.

  • 1 orange, peeled, pith removed, sections released with sharp knife
  • 2 lbs young turnips, cleaned and quartered (you can use the greens with the spinach but we didn’t like the greens)
  • 3 tblsps olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 glove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 lb baby spinach

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place turnips on baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tblsp. olive oil.  Roast for 20 minutes until almost tender.  Pour orange juice over turnips and cook for another 5-10 minutes until glazed and tender.  In skillet, cook onions and garlic until softened about five mintes.  Place spinach in a large bowl, toss with cooked turnips, oranges, garlic and onions until spinach has wilted.  Turn on to a serving platter or shallow bowl.  Top with pinenuts.





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  1. I am too familiar with that ache that comes up unexpectly–today I drove by where my son had his summer job, and there it was–that terrible missing him
    I remember when I wanted to live in residence and my mom seemed deadset against it (I was about 30 miles from university) and I could not figure out why–and my brother brought it to my attention the other day that she was probably feeling then like I feel now when my youngest is away at school–only took me 30 some years to figure it out–and then it had to be pointed out to me

  2. likeitiz says:

    Yes, they do miss home but they go about their days with stiff upper lips and brave faces to the outside world. These are matters not to be laid out in public. They are, after all, grown ups. And then later on, when they have established their footing more securely in their place shoulder to shoulder with their new-found peers, they discover it’s all right to be soft, to be tender, and to be sappy every so often. It’s healthy. And human. By then, home is a distant world, however. And for us at home, their childhood is a fond memory as well. Thanks for taking me there again.

  3. lillianccc says:

    This reminded me of my first year in college when my mom sent me a care package soon after class started. I still remember thinking how absurd it was for her to send me a whole plateful of cookies when she knew I’d never be able to finish them myself but at the same time, so incredibly grateful that she did. As your son says, the comfort is in the crazy. Guess us kids just like to pretend we’re okay without our parents by our side so its a good thing our parents know us better than that. 😉

  4. we like to pretend too. i think we all know we’re pretending and that too, is an expression of love.

  5. Ginger Kay says:

    I realized last week that I never did get around to sending my son a care package. I’m going to write it on my calendar for next term.

  6. TBM says:

    I went away to college but was still close enough that I never received a care package. Now I’m bummed. Too much candy–is there such a thing?

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