Now all four of my children have gone through a particular transition experience. Coming home from college over Thanksgiving, to a traditional family event, is generally the first time that new college kids are faced with an altered universe. They have changed, but many aspects of home life have not.
Part of the difficulties, however, are in the fact that other aspects of home life HAVE changed. Each time someone leaves the family's day to day living, there is a shift in the chemistry and daily habits of the household. In all four cases in our household, there has been some adjustment that has had to take place. Every time a new vessel is launched from the home front, there is some wobbly trouble on re-entry.
Relationships are tested, kids feel an expectation to fit into roles that no longer feel right, or parents feel an expectation to fit into a new role for which they aren't prepared. An 18 year old with a new sense of self and growth might feel frustration when that self doesn't seem to feel the same in the home front. Home isn't what it once was, and that can be tough.
Welcome to a lifetime of family dynamics! With all four of my kids I have had conversations about navigating the shift. It is good practice for the long haul ahead of shifting, adapting, accepting changes in people and family and home. Who DOESN'T have some degree of family drama in their lives? Only someone with no family at all, I would guess, and that is not an attractive alternative to most of us. So there's no time like the present to begin learning how to cope.
Although my musings may imply that there was friction all weekend, everything was actually quite wonderful all around. We spent three hours on the high school fields with a big group playing football and frisbee yesterday, friends came by, great times all around. There are only undercurrents, and quiet conversations at the bedside, and I am a cerebrator.