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Time to make someone else the priority

Adam Cahill | Tuesday, February 17, 2004

It’s late and you can’t sleep because this recurring feeling of apprehensive nervousness inside you cries for you to do something more. But what, if anything, more can be done?But the obsessive compulsive part of you still needs to check on it and make sure that there’s not something that can be tweaked or improved.So you turn on the lights in the workroom and walk into the middle of the cold cement floor with bare feet and a slight stiff wobble from tossing in bed for so long. You sit on the bench facing the work table and the small cracks in the cement floor. You’re still in a daze and squinting because of the sudden rush of light to your dilated eyes. You turn your head to keep away from the glaring light and see rows and rows of pictures taped to the wall of the different stages in the project’s existence. God, it’s beautiful.Even if no one else on earth could recognize its marvelous uniqueness and unparalleled beauty, you wouldn’t care. It’s yours and you molded it, shaped it and formed it – from nothing.A sudden wave of nostalgia envelops you and the memories come flooding back to you like a tidal wave during a hurricane. The project started as little more than just raw materials and a dream of perfection, at least in your eyes, and now it has evolved into a work in progress that has consumed your life. It created rifts between you and your spouse and loved ones because they each had their own opinions on where the project should go. But you held fast, as much for the sake of your pride as it was for the project itself. You had a destination in mind for it all along; it would just be a matter of time until your dream would come true, too.The sacrifices have been many and often. There have been times when the whole project seemed doomed to fail and that the most logical explanation was to start from scratch. There was that job in New York that you passed up on because it would hinder your working space and the rent was too high.And then there was that trip to Europe that you had been planning for years but couldn’t afford because of the monetary responsibility of paying for materials. It sure would have been nice to go, you think to yourself. But it is only Europe – it could wait. The dream of the final product stayed firmly planted in your mind so that no matter how bad it got, you never relinquished hope.Putting on the reading glasses that have gotten progressively stronger over the years, your hands search for the tools needed to accentuate, enhance and detail your work. Your hands work expertly and with ease, the many years of work having calloused and trained them into muscle memory.But when you pull focus you realize that which is equally true: You must be more tired than you thought because the work of art is gone; the clay you have sculpted for so many years has been gone for going on three years now.And as your mind clears from the grogginess of the late-night hours, you think to the people you gave your work to. They promised you that they would help the work shine and aid it in reaching its enormous potential. There have been a couple of bumps along the way, and of course you knew that was going to happen. But this coming weekend, you will be hosted in an event to honor the work you have done in bringing your project into being and the job you have done in molding it into a masterpiece. You’re excited, but you don’t know what to expect. You just hope that the weekend goes smoothly and that nothing drastic has happened since the last time you two were together.Junior Parents Weekend is a weekend especially designed to show Notre Dame parents that we, as their children, know the enormous sacrifices they have taken in order for us to be Domers. They have given us more than everything. And in turn, we owe them everything. So, if you catch either your mom or dad gazing at you with a peculiar smile sometime during the weekend, don’t ask them questions or tell them to stop. Just give them a hug and thank them.You are your parents’ greatest success. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. So, at least for this weekend, dote on them as much as they dote on you because they deserve it. They’ve taught you how to become a Domer for more than 20 years and they’ve done more than a good job at that.

Adam Cahill is a senior history and American Studies major. His column appears every other Wednesday. He can be contacted at acahill@nd.edu.The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.