Keeping things fresh in a relationship (with your parents)

It happens. After a period of comfort, you just stop trying.  Maybe you whip out the sweatpants more than you should, or your “places” – the restaurants, the relaxation spots, and the shops –feel a bit dried up.  That doesn’t mean you should throw the baby out with the bathwater – all you need to make Parents Weekend fresh again is a little spice.

Every year it becomes the same routine.  You scream halfheartedly chant “Ra Ra Bruno,” shepherding your parents around in all of their Brown-swag glory.  You get some good meals (I am definitely not suggesting you give this up), and you desperately clean your room in attempt to rid it of the greasy smell of last week’s Spicy With, the accompanying ketchup-smeared takeout box and the shirt whose fibers reek of various smokes.  Never fear, for we have suggestions to send you back to freshman fall, without the awkwardness, vomit, or mornings-after. 

Actually tailgate.  If you are 21, think about taking your relationship with your parents to a whole new level.  Buy a six-pack of beers and actually relax.  They want to see you because they want to see where their money’s going love you, so please allow them to take part in the bonding rituals that we, as students, so enjoy.

Get off campus.  After a few years, parents know the drill – they know what Thayer looks like. They know your room is a shithole.  They know that Via Via probably has a new name.  Rather than making the weekend about two days “at college,” why not get out and enjoy Providence?

  • If it isn’t raining: Go apple picking!  There are numerous places in Lil Rhody and right over the border in Mass where you can pick apples or buy pie.
  • If you’re on a see-food diet: The first annual Rhode Island Seafood Festival is happening Saturday 11 am-6 pm in India Point Park.  Go explore what’s happening under the sea, and explore what the area surrounding Whisko looks like by daylight.

Meet your friends’ parents. If you live in a space with a common room or lounge, have a Sunday brunch or a pre-dinner cocktail party so you can all meet each other.  Parents love having a face to put with their children’s stories, and we all love to be able to say “Claaassic Mr./Mrs. __-insert name here-_” for any and every parent-child interaction.  Go to Bagel Gourmet, get a baker’s dozen, and let the schmoozing and schmearing begin.

Mix it up. Routine is comforting, but it can also breed resentment.  Put in some effort and create an itinerary that will show your parents just how much you love to explore Providence.   Try a new restaurant or neighborhood (Westminster Street, Federal Hill, downtown).  Maybe go to a new student activity instead of sending them back to their hotel after dinner; various comedy and a cappella groups are having shows.

Lastly, communicate. There’s a guilt factor.  Your parents have been telling you how excited they are to see you.  They’ve booked flights, hotel rooms, and restaurants but you just aren’t ready for them to pierce your Brown bubble.  Let them know up-front that you need some alone time to “do work” or “go to the gym” or (actually) sit in your bed and watch TV.  Do whatever you need to do to make sure that you can make your needs known and keep passive aggression at bay.

You love your parents.  They love you.  Just gloss over the fact that you have 2o years of baggage, avoid talk of “the future,” and remember to order the apple tart.

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1 Comment

  1. hmm

    sheparding?

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