Junior Parents Weekend

Recently I received Notre Dame’s brochure promoting this year’s Junior Parents Weekend, and I’m still debating what to do about it.

JPW is billed as an opportunity to “become part of the academic, spiritual, social, and residential life of the University.” The weekend offers parents a chance “to learn more about the people and places that comprise your son or daughter’s home away from home.”

Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? Almost like going back to college myself, only this time, actually knowing something!

But guess when this extravaganza is to be held?

Did you say October, when the weather cools a bit and the campus trees are brilliant with reds and golds and coppers?


Maybe April, when a profusion of multicolored tulips poke through the soil, buds pop out on the trees, and the grass greens, turning everything into an emerald oasis?

No again.

JPW is scheduled for February.


Whose idea was that?

February, the shortest and dreariest month in the entire calendar.

February, when mountains of snow and patches of ice make travel by foot or vehicle treacherous.

February, when PermaCloud (that pervasive cloud cover over Northern Indiana) is ever-present to darken the skies above and the spirits within.

February. Seriously.

But maybe there’s more to it than at first glance.

Is it possible they deliberately chose February as the month for JPW?

So parents and their students could come aside for a few days deep in the heart of winter, when daylight is shorter and campus is quieter, when all you hear is the soft crunch of footsteps on the snow, when few other activities or holidays or demands compete for our attention, when the laughter of students blends with the camaraderie of professors and parents in a celebration of gala feasts and live entertainment.

Yeah, that must be it.

But I still wish they’d chosen another month. Mid-September through mid-November is nice; so’s mid-April through mid-May.

February is the height of basketball season. My Favorite Domer probably will be otherwise occupied with Band obligations, leaving little opportunity for “family bonding.”

If I could even get to campus through the ice and snow.

Another thing — they invite us to a celebration, then expect us to pay for every activity. Plus our own hotel rooms.

Call me cheap, but couldn’t they at least throw in free tickets to a home football game??