Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family Day

Last Saturday was Parent and Family Weekend at UCSB. For $30 per person, you could arrive on Thursday for a full weekend of planned activities and events for your family and your student. Options included attending classes with your kid, several campus tours and student comedy and improv shows. We opted for our own plan and drove up to Santa Barbara on Saturday morning to spend the day with Emily. It was a great chance to reconnect and to see Emily in her new role as college student, roommate and dorm resident.
Earlier that week, I had received from Emily a list of items she wanted us to bring. Among them were shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent and a printer cartridge. I was a bit surprised as she does get a monthly allowance to cover her expenses. I quickly realized that she thinks of her allowance as her money, to be used towards things she wants. The items on her list were necessities, hence we should pay for them. I wondered what she would have done had we not come up for the day. The other items on her list were all snack options. Knowing what a nutritionista I am, she made sure to ask for something healthy to offset every junk food request: apples and fruit snacks; carrots and Cheezits; edamame and candy. Al loaded up a duffle bag with Nestle candy, feeling a bit like Santa Claus. Her friends in her dorm had all been anticipating this delivery of sweet treats and were drawn to him likes moths to the light as soon as we arrived. With not a shred of humility, they came with their backpacks to load up on an assortment of Crunch bars, Kazoozles and Nerds. We met several of her friends, including the track star and the surfer. It was amazing to see how quickly they had all bonded and how much they seemed to enjoy each other. Unfortunately, we missed the maneaters, two girls who live in a room down the hall. According to Emily, they bring a different boy home each night, hence the nickname. It is remarkable how these two girls found each other. Back in the beginning of the summer, Emily had to complete a roommate questionnaire, which posed questions such as: Do you study with music on or off? Are you an early bird or a night owl? Are you neatnik or a slob? (Shockingly, she answered "neatnik", thinking of it as some kind of goal setting.) Nowhere on the questionnaire was there anything about promiscuity, so how these two girls ended up as roommates is some strange twist of fate. Perhaps that question should be added so they too could be encouraged to amend their bad habits.
Some college truisms transcend all generations, especially laundry. Walking to the elevator, we were sideswiped by a shirtless freshman, loaded down with two enormous mesh bags, making a mad dash for the laundry room. He was hoping to get his laundry finished before his parents arrived. One could only assume they were not coming for several days. Emily had done her best to hide most of her dirty clothes in her closet but they still burst forth from her bulging laundry bag. One of Emily's friends joined us for dinner that evening. She was wearing shorts and a tank top. At 6:00 in the evening, the sun had set and the moist beach air draped heavily around me. I asked her if she was chilly but she assured me she was fine. Leaving the restaurant a couple hours later, I heard her say how cold she was and that she had to do laundry soon. I asked her if she was dressed as she was because all her other clothes were dirty. She sheepishly copped to the truth but gladly accepted my sherpa jacket.
Al's brother and sister-in-law drove down from San Luis Obispo to spend the afternoon with us at the pier. After lunch, we walked along the beach. Joey and Jack made up some crazy game where the tried to keep their balance while running along the edge of a ridge at the shoreline. One misstep and down they rolled toward the surf. Delighting in making his brother and sister laugh, Jack took a dive time after time. Back on campus, they found a basketball and shot around for a bit until darkness and their hunger chased them back indoors. It was great to watch them having so much fun just being together. One could have expected that at age 15, Joey might have been reluctant to spend the day away from his friends but I think the appeal of seeing Emily was enough to make spending the day with his family seem worthwhile. She will be home for Thanksgiving in a couple weeks and then for winter break a few weeks after that. So, it appears that we will successfully manage her absence for the first quarter as we will have enjoyed several restorative pit stops with her. But I am battening down the hatches for a long winter.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate this window into the future. My daughter's submitted all of her applications, so we're just waiting to find out where we'll spend parents weekend next year...