‘Twas the week after Christmas, when all through the house
Not a student home from college was stirring, not a laptop nor mouse;
The dirty clothing was flung in the mudroom with care,
In hopes that Mom, the laundress, soon would be there;
The younger siblings were nestled all snug in their beds,
Visions of the coming college years danced in their heads;
And Mom with her to-do list, and Dad with his map,
Were bound to wake the household from a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
The whole family had to ask: what now is the matter?
Away to the windows they flew very quickly,
Even Grandma upstairs who was very sickly.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to all wondering eyes should appear,
An old friend from high school they hadn’t seen in a year;
With spiked hair and new jewelry, in his ears and his nose,
And fabric on his body that appeared to be clothes.
More rapid than eagles his comments they came,
He whistled and shouted, and called the whole family by name.
“Now Jason! Now, Ashley! Now, Connor and Jay!
I thought all about you while I’ve been away.
To the top of the list, all of you went,
As I thought about high school and all that you meant.
As dry leaves piled in my backyard did fly,
I did not want to rake them, so I looked at the sky;
I watched for some time the moon and the sun,
It made me think of all of you, each and every one.
And so I thought that I’d come to say hey
To ask if we could meet for coffee one day?
I’ve got some new friends in college, they’re from everywhere,
But my old friends here at home…well, nothing compares.”
“Sure, I’d like that,” the new old friend replied with good cheer,
And added, “I know what you mean about the people from here.”
Now as the parents were watching this conversation unfold,
It made them feel pretty good, if the truth can be told.
For as proud as they were that their child could roam,
It made them very happy when their child came home.
So they winked and they nodded and they returned to their room,
And they decided to hold off on lowering the boom.
The cleaning, the shopping, the oil change could wait,
A child renewing an old friendship, well that was first-rate.
Now if you can relate to this story I’ve told,
Then somebody made you a good parent, and then broke the mold.
Of course, you could try to control winter break,
But I’d think you’d soon realize that was a big, big mistake.
So let your college student sleep in and feed him/her a lot.
A warm bed and good food, that’s about all the leverage you’ve got.
Your friends might disagree, and put their child to work,
And their houses might be cleaner, but their kids probably think they’re a jerk.
So lay aside the things you must do,
And try a museum, or maybe the zoo.
Now you may want to have some time to just talk,
And if you do the above, your child is less prone to balk.
Because the goal in the end not to get sappy
Is to send the kids back to school rested and happy.
And our goal in this group is to serve you well too,
We know that as parents you’ve got plenty to do;
So we sift through the Web and find the best stuff,
And then we feed it to you, though never enough.
And when we do meet with the Hill and the Administration,
The subject of college costs provides us endless fascination;
We advocate for you, the unsung heroes who pay,
And we hope your investment will get a return someday.
Since we know that you are paying so much,
We line up business partners with discounts and such
We do all this with a ten-year goal of precision,
A timeframe we term the “Decade of Decision.”
We think you are smart to be part of our group,
And why there aren’t more always throws me for a loop.
So if you decide that this poem is good,
Then can you send it to friends? It would be great if you would.
Someday we will be as big and as powerful as AARP,
And when that day comes, you will be happy and so will be me.