Welcome, GW parents.
By now, your child’s room has been frantically cleaned, with racy posters and beer cans shoved behind the dirty clothes hamper in the back of the closet. They have put on their cleanest clothes and met you with a big hug.
But it’s a different hug than the ones you’ve received before. Perhaps they have better posture or a new swagger. Maybe your child has gained or lost some weight. Is that a new haircut? Did they always have that piercing?
You pick up on all that is new and wonder, “Has my child already grown up?” Not to worry. Your students have not morphed into adults yet. On the contrary, their day-to-day habits are more reminiscent of grade school than grad school.
That man or woman standing in front of you is closer than you realize to the little kid you seemingly just raised. In their diets, for instance, just like their younger selves, a meal of choice is likely to be a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Students frequently take naps, and no one wants to get out of their pajamas – even when they are going to class. Those big comfy cartoon slippers can be found in all dorm hallways. We watch a lot of cartoons too, like “Family Guy” and “Aquateen Hunger Force.”
This isn’t to say you took out a second mortgage on your home to pay for your kids to regress to their childhood ways. We are starting to focus on and plan for what’s ahead. We are truly, if slowly, becoming adults. Still, that higher level of maturity hasn’t totally taken over the kid you so fondly remember. Whether you are here to see a freshman or senior, don’t let the aura of college cool fool you.
So, parents, rest assured that you haven’t lost the kid you chased around in their PJs on Christmas mornings so many years ago. Those childish quirks that made your kid so loveable have come full circle.
Even though they may try to shy away from your hug around classmates or avoid answering you immediately when you yell out their childhood nicknames in a crowd, they are still the same napping, pajama-wearing, PB and J-eating little kids you knew just a few years ago.
The writer is an undecided freshman.