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Two families

Ann Marie Jakubowski | Friday, February 22, 2013

Like all high school seniors this time of year, my younger brother has a serious decision ahead of him. He’s deciding where to go to college and he’s split between accepting offers from Notre Dame and the University of Michigan.
In my house, this is a legitimately difficult decision, even though the right choice is obvious to all of us here in South Bend. In the spirit of total honesty, I’ll admit it – my family members are Michigan fans, cheering for the Michigan Wolverines even before the Irish. I like to think of myself as a success story in this regard, living proof that one can overcome such a dismal situation. I have been wheedling my sister and brothers to change their ways and join me, bombarding them with Notre Dame apparel for Christmas and talking ad nauseam about how generally awesome this place is.
But when my brother opened that Welcome Home letter a few months ago, I began to look at our school in a whole new light. We hear a lot of talk about our “Notre Dame family” and the ways it fosters a sense of community and hospitality on campus, from Frosh-O weekend to the student section in the stadium. I had never thought, though, about what it would mean to share that adopted family with a biological family member.
I love my family at home more than anything else. They provided me with love and support that formed me indelibly during my 18 years living with them, and I have been lucky enough to find a similarly positive “family” in my past two years at Notre Dame. And I really, really hope my brother comes here. I hope he reads this eventually, after accepting his offer and submitting the deposit, and a precious Hallmark-esque “awww” moment ensues. I haven’t had the legacy student experience at Notre Dame, with grandparents who rubbed shoulders with Knute Rockne and parents who remember when Mod Quad was actually modern. I can’t imagine how much fun it would be to have a brother here and, sappy as it sounds, I’m thinking about what it would be like to turn onto Notre Dame Avenue for the first time with him on move-in weekend and catch a glimpse of the dome (I’m blushing. But really).
I love my home family, and I love my Notre Dame family, and for the first time, there exists the possibility that the two don’t have to be separated. I belong to two families, one I chose and one I didn’t. And here’s hoping that the baby bro helps me bring the two together.