Saturday, October 20, 2018

Family Weekend

It was Family Weekend down at Small Liberal Arts College.

They used to call that Parent Weekend, back in the Paleolithic when I was in college.  Eventually I suppose they figured out that this was unnecessarily limiting.  That a lot of students either didn’t particularly get along with their parents or had other people – siblings, grandparents, friends who might as well be family, and/or yes actual parents of the step, biological, or metaphorical varieties – whom they might want to have come visit and see their new lives.  “Family Weekend” means there is less explaining to do.

You family?  You in.

My parents used to come to these things every year.  I never really understood why, since I was all of six miles from their front door, but it was good to see them and I enjoyed having them visit.  We’d walk through whatever classes I had that day (my mom still remembers my History of the Third Reich class, taught by Thomas Childers – a minor deity in that particular historical subfield – and my dad fondly recalled my Italian TA for years afterward), maybe go to one or another of the various events that the university put together to welcome the parents who were, after all, footing the bill for their child’s education, and then head out to dinner at some place that was probably nicer than what a college student would pay for on their own.  It was always a good time.

I understand things better, now that I’m on the other side of that divide.

You want to see that everything is okay.  You want to see that your child is doing well, that they are making a place for themselves there in this new environment that you are an outsider to.  You want to see them again, after not having them home for weeks for the first time in their lives.

So we went.

SLAC is pretty low key about the whole thing, it has to be said.  They’re happy to have you there, but they don’t really plan much for you to do.  They didn’t even have classes scheduled.  SLAC runs on its own calendar.

And that’s okay.  All those things weren’t really the point.

We got to hang out with Tabitha for a bit and see how she was settling in down at SLAC.  We took her to dinner at a place she’s probably not going to get to very often, mostly because it was a bit out of town.  We did a bit of shopping for stuff that she discovered that she needed – you never really know what to pack for dorm living until you’ve lived in the dorm for a while.  We got caught up, which is something that is easier to do in person than by pixels.  It was a nice visit that way.

Be well and do well, Tabitha.  I’m proud of you.

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