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Thank you for the tears

| Friday, May 16, 2014

What are tears?

Are they water? Are they salt? Are they salt water?

Are they from the eyes? Are they from the heart? Are they from the soul?

Are they emotions? Are they feelings? Are they memories?

They are all of the above.

They are Notre Dame.

Tears are when I got accepted. They are when I hugged my sister, Amanda, and cried on her shoulder as I told her I could be going to South Bend. They are when I flipped a coin 100 times, and the Irish won. They are “Welcome Home.

Tears are when I left my house in August 2010. They are the drive to the airport. They are the nights at the Marriott. They are the unknown. They are what I was afraid of, which turned out to be nothing. They are leaving home.

Tears are when my parents left Notre Dame the Sunday after DomerFest. They are trying to remember song lyrics during my 18th birthday. They are serenades. They are the long walk to D2 and they are kisses goodbye. They are moving home.

Tears are switching majors. They are what you feel, what you do. They are uncertainty.

Tears are the end of freshman year. They are saying goodbyes and packing home. They are maxing out flex points and minimizing shipping costs. They are saying hello to the Miami summer and saying goodbye to my best friends. They are leaving home.

Tears are “Welcome back,”s. They are the “How are you doing?”s, and they are orange sunsets at 9 p.m. They are the return to the dining hall and they are first class introductions. They are moving home.

Tears are the end of sophomore year. They are when I said bye to my best friends for 15 months. They are walks around the lakes. They are when we knew the best reunion would be under the Golden Dome. They are patience.

Tears are airport pickups from your own city. They are when your friends — wait, family — stay with you and love every minute of it. They are playing with the family dog (Hi, Bentley) and eating the family food (Sauce can never go wrong). They are moving home.

Tears are 12-1. They are the imperfect perfect season. They are Eddie Lacy, and they are a postgame beer at the house. They are picking up confetti from the field, and they are writing a game story. They are disappointment and they are encouragement.

Tears are when I left Fremantle. They are when I left beaches and cliffs and adventures and people behind. They are when I ditched kangaroos and koalas and sunshine. They are leaving home.

Tears are when I left Australia. They are when I traded hostels for home. They are when time in eastern Australia and New Zealand ran short. They are when things were never the same again. They are coming home.

Tears are Notre Dame’s win over BYU in November. They are my last game as an undergraduate. They are snow and wind and not being able to feel your fingers. They are my last alma mater. They are walking out through the tunnel. They are “Love Thee Notre Dame.”

Tears are meeting new friends too late. They are wondering why three years went by without saying a word. They are adjusting and adapting and loving.

Tears are in the future. They are when I cross the stage. They are when I hug my parents. They are when a degree is in hand. They are emotional.

But tears are also the terrible jokes I laughed too hard at. They are when I was too happy for my body to handle. They are when I smiled too much at my friends. They are when you know it is real.

Tears are writing this. They are the reminiscing and the remembering. They are the regretting and the forgetting. They are everything you wanted to say but could not.

Tears are what make everything worth it.

Thank you for the tears, Notre Dame.

You deserve it.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Matthew DeFranks

Matthew DeFranks is an Assistant Managing Editor and a senior Finance major and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy minor from Miami. He loves a solid 2-3 zone, Sperry's, fantasy football drafts, How I Met Your Mother, Cuban food, free parking, beaches, good hip-hop and airports. He hates wearing white socks, the Florida Gators, pickles, Shakespeare, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the Patriots, death metal, Ed Hardy shirts and airports.

Contact Matthew