About nine months ago, you left me in front of my dorm, tears in both of our eyes, all by myself. As my first year away from you comes to a close, I'm getting ready to return to the nest. And I can guess you're either feeling really excited to have your baby back, or you are wishing the semester would last a little longer. But whether you're ready or not, I'm coming home.

It's been quieter around the house. You haven't had to drive to games, activities, appointments, and events for me. One less person to clean for, one less person to cook for, and one less person to feel responsible for. It's OK to admit that you've enjoyed it.

I loved my first year away from home. I tasted freedom like I never have before, and I would like to think I was safe and smart about it. I figured out how to take care of myself in every way, shape and form -- I manage my own time, I feed myself, and I get myself from point A to point B. In just a few short months, I've learned so much about myself and the world outside of our little town. It has been an amazing experience.

I'm kind of an adult now, and as I adjust to life back home, I'm asking you to be patient with me. I have spent so much time getting used to a new lifestyle where I can make up my own rules and decide when I want to follow them; it may take me a while to remember how things used to be when I was here all the time.

Please remember that I just busted my butt academically in the two hardest semesters of my life and I'm exhausted. I don't want to think about classes or my grades or anything related to my major -- I just want to enjoy my summer.

Don't get angry with me if I forget to put my dish in the dishwasher or don't do my laundry for two weeks -- when I was living on my own, I could do whatever I wanted. I know I have to live by your rules when I'm home, but give me some time to adjust. I promise I'm not a slob when I'm at school -- I'm just a college student.

I've been away from home for so long and there is so much I missed when I was gone. So please, let me pick that local restaurant I love for dinner and allow me to hang out with friends every night if I want to. I've missed the things I left behind and I'm only home for four short months, so I have to enjoy it while I'm here. I promise to spend time with you before I go back to school.

But mostly, I want to say thank you. Thank you for supporting me and loving me through all the tough times this year brought. All the phone calls, worried texts about my taxes, FaceTime sessions with the dog, and surprise weekend visits helped me survive my first year away from home. No matter where I go and how long I'm gone, I'll always be your baby and I will always appreciate everything you've done for me.

No more exams, presentations, meetings, or lectures. For the first time in a long time, I'm all yours. And even though I'm coming home now, soon I will be leaving again -- so let me enjoy my time home with you.