Family Weekend at Whitman

For me, Family Weekend goes a little something like this:


4:37 PM: First thoughts of cleaning the room enter my mind.

5:43 PM: Frantically folding clean laundry and putting away clothes, arranging furniture, straightening blankets, and vacuuming the floor because they’re 15 minutes out!

6:02 PM: My family shows up, and wants to check out my dorm before anything else.  Walking through the halls and feeling like a tour guide is a little bit awkward, because every other student in my dorm with parents in town is obviously doing the exact same thing. I showed my family my spotless room, and smugly insisted to my mother that “Yes, it ALWAYS looks like this.”

6:29 PM: We go out to grab dinner. Of course, while walking down main street, looking through restaurant windows, we see what appears to be the entire student body with their parents. All of them have dreamy smiles on their faces, and seem to be thinking the same thing: freedom from the dining hall!

8:00 PM: After dinner, my family goes to the sampler concert. We watch the choir, orchestra, wind ensemble, and jazz band play, all to loud applause. My little brother Jake is 13 years old, and already quite the saxophone player. He enjoys the jazz band most, My mom tears up at the choir’s rendition of ‘So it Goes.’

After the concert, I have to turn down my little sister’s offer to go to the hotel swimming pool. It breaks my heart a little bit, and I wonder at what age the novelty of swimming in a hotel pool finally wore off.


7:23 AM: I wake up to a call from my dad asking if I want to go to the farmer’s market.

7:25 AM: I realize that my family is already at my dorm, and REALLY wants to go to the farmer’s market.

7:27 AM: Bleary-eyed and still half-asleep, I make my way out to our car through the driving rain. I can’t help but wonder what on earth has gotten into them.

8:00: Everyone finds something they liked at the farmer’s market: my dad has never seen beard oil before but is quite enthusiastic with the idea, my mom samples every type of granola at the whole foods table, and my siblings get quite a kick out of the bee-lady.

10:58 AM: On to the planetarium show! My 13-year old brother seems to fall asleep while the constellation presentation happens around him, but then, there’s probably no better place for a mid-morning nap.

11:33 AM: Brunch at Jewett. Jake, Josie (my little sister), and Dad treat themselves to massive smoothies and crepes. My wonderful, ultra-health-conscious mother, of course, has a salad.  

12:04 PM: Jake and Josie are excited to try ‘experiments’ in one of the science labs. If only my chemistry class was so carefree! We synthesize ‘goo’ and ‘snakes’, as well as some interesting combinations of the two.  

1:16 PM: The field games are all rained out, so we take refuge in the athletic center and play hallway soccer until the climbing center opens up. We definitely incur some dirty looks from the basketball staff.

2:01 PM: The climbing center opens, and my little brother and sister are in heaven. Watching them monkey around on the rock walls is awesome, and I’m quite impressed with their skills. My dad is right up there with them, wearing his climbing shoes from the early 90’s. He looks like he hasn’t lost a step.

4:37 PM: After cruising around town for a little bit longer, it’s time for my family to take off. They’ve been here for less than 24 hours, but want to make it home for my sister Mia’s senior high school homecoming. They don’t have too long of a drive, but want to be back in plenty of time.

I live close enough to home, and see my family frequently enough that I don’t miss them unbearably in the spaces between visits. Every time I see them again after some prolonged absence, I realize how quickly I fall back into taking them for granted. Family Weekend is a reminder of priorities. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenetic action of college life, and totally fixate on the immediate responsibilities we must take care of. Seeing my family is a reminder to never forget about the really important things in life.

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