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Parents, welcome to the fold

Editorial Board | Thursday, February 16, 2012

As the cars roll up and the parents get dropped off with suitcases and eager smiles in tow, a moment of panic grips you. A weekend awaits, full of galas and Mass and brunch and bonding. Will it be awkward? Will it be fun? Will it be worth the drive?

Is Junior Parents Weekend as great as it’s made out to be?

It is if you embrace it for all its worth.

For one special weekend in the midst of your college career, Notre Dame plays host to hundreds of middle-aged and elderly adults (no offense, parents), a much different crowd than the 20-somethings that usually rule the scene. Parietals persist, parties move off campus and students get to focus on developing relationships with the ones who have loved them since before they were born — their parents.

At first, Junior Parents Weekend might feel a little forced as you introduce your folks to your friends under the guise of a fancy gala. You walk around the Purcell Pavilion, not sure if you need to hold Mom and Dad’s hands like it’s their first day of kindergarten. Can they mingle by themselves? Do they know what to do and where to go? Will they play nice with others in the sandbox?

Maybe your parents are the kind who love college and all it implies, ready to go out and be the lives of the party. Maybe they’re more reserved, shy and a little nervous when thrown into unknown situations. Maybe they couldn’t make it, and instead you’re on your own to entertain the massive influx of adults swarming campus.

Whatever the situation may be, sit back, relax and enjoy what’s ahead. It’s a rare moment when adults and children get to experience a beautiful thing called college together. For this one special weekend, the stars align and maybe, just maybe, the sun comes out.

Open your doors and hearts to your parents and let them know how much you appreciate their love and support. The pride that fills their eyes when they see the great company you keep and the curriculum you conquer will ease any and all tensions.

This weekend is about so much more than checking events off the list. As sappy as it sounds, it’s about letting your home and Notre Dame family become one.

Parents, this is your chance to catch a glimpse of the adults your kids are becoming. They’re letting you into a world that has allowed them to grow in a multitude of ways. Take advantage of the opportunity to see their lives both academically and socially. It’s a rare time, a period of formation both you and their peers play a large part in.

Embrace their friends and their friends’ parents, people who have influenced and shaped your child’s life in more ways than you can count.

Next year, when you meet again amidst tailgates and football games, bond over that first encounter, the one that started it all. Know that your children are well taken care of by the University, their peers and those who have raised the class of 2013.

Hold onto this weekend. Like your college career, it goes by fast. Do your best to make it last.