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Speaking of JPW

Laura Myers | Monday, February 22, 2010

At the Junior Parents’ Weekend Mass Saturday, Fr. Tom Eckert said in his homily that we should enjoy all of the meaningful conversations that the weekend would bring.

That comment struck me, because over JPW I did indeed have some fascinating conversations with friends, family and faculty members. And when I say fascinating, I mean awkward, inappropriate or overall just mortifying. And I’m leaving out the one where my dad and I discussed certain medical procedures I may or may not need in the future.

Some examples, in chronological order.

On the phone with my mom Friday afternoon:
Mom: “So are you going to drink margaritas with us at the Mexican restaurant?”
Me: “No, those things are pure sugar.”
Mom: “Okay, I guess we’ll just have to do tequila shots.”

That evening at the Gala, in line for the bar:
Dad: “With your new haircut you look a little older.”
Me: “A friend told me 19.”
Dad: “I wouldn’t go that far.”

At a reception for theology majors Saturday, talking with a theology professor whom I had just met:
Professor: “What are you planning to do after you graduate?”
Me: “Well, I work for The Observer, and if I can find a job in journalism I would love to do that.”
Professor: “That’s a great way to be poor for the rest of your life.”

Still at the theology reception:
Me: “There is nothing in this life I can get with a 4.0 that I can’t get with a 3.5.”
Dad: “How about on the Dean’s List?”

At Mass, towards the end of the Sign of Peace:
My mom leans past me towards a junior two seats to my right.
Me: “What are you doing?”
Mom: “I wanted to shake his hand. He’s cute.”

At the President’s Dinner:
A friend from high school runs into my dad and comes over to say hello.
Friend: “I found your Dad in the bathroom.”
Mom: “Were you just hanging out in there?”

In a way, conversations like this are at the core of JPW, a chance for parents to discover just what their kids are up to. For most of us, the Notre Dame experience involves drinking alcohol (legally and responsibly, of course), obsessing over grades and careers, convincing bouncers that our birthday really was 21 years ago and attempting to pick up cute co-eds at Mass, among many other things.

My parents really got down to the bottom of things, and I’m glad they did. If they don’t disown me for writing this — which my mom threatened to do — I’d love for them to come back for more conversations.

Just preferably not about my friends’ bathroom habits.