I traveled to South Bend yesterday to pick My Favorite Domer up for the Thanksgiving holidays (First-Years at Notre Dame aren’t allowed to have cars, so he’s “grounded” unless/until I fetch him!)
I’ve already done three loads of laundry (did I really send him off to college with that much stuff?), and he’s been “chill-axing” with his favorite video games, texting friends (both near and far), and listening to music while playing on his laptop. Not much has changed, right?
I’d already mentally prepared myself for a “new” son this time around. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that I was a college freshman returning home for the big turkey-day feast — and oh, how I chafed that nobody recognized the “new, grownup me”!
So I steeled myself NOT to hover, NOT to ask nit-picky questions, NOT to demand he get a haircut (though he did, and on his own!), and NOT to expect him to keep my schedule.
Good thing, too. Nothing worse than a “helicopter parent.”
It’s immensely gratifying to see how well he’s acclimated to ND. So many young people find themselves straddling both worlds, home and college, when they go away, and that’s tough — on them and on their parents. Many others are completely miserable with their choices and can’t transfer fast enough to a school that’s a better fit.
MFD announced that if he could move his family, video games, and “stuff” to South Bend, he’d probably never come back to the town he grew up in.
I suspect many of his new friends feel the same. Notre Dame is already “home” to them; they’re happy, and happiness is what we parents want for our kids.
It’s said that “familiarity breeds contempt.” If so, maybe these kids should swap hometowns for one visit. They would see different communities through new eyes and gain an appreciation for the fires of home.
In the meantime, we’ll just enjoy the brief vacation he has — Happy Thanksgiving!