Today, a cloud will descend upon Brown. Blonde uber-skinny moms and Neurotic Jews will populate our campus for a full weekend, after seven weeks parent-free. It’s Family Weekend 2012, Brunonians. For some of us
overly-attached freaks students, this will be a time of free meals, clothes, movies, and ultimately joy.
And for the rest of us, this weekend will produce more anxiety than all of our midterms put together.
Family Weekend is placed right in the middle of midterms. As if we didn’t have to deal with our Orgo grades biting us in the ass, we also have to cope with Hurricane Parent spinning into town, asking endless anxiety-inducing questions about our lives and futures, nit-picking through our room, and ultimately making us feel like crap.
I tried to get them to stay away. “Well, you know, Mum, Dad,” I hedged on a nervous voicemail message. “I’d love to see you, but you know, I am a busy girl… two midterms the next week and a paper…”
The next day, I received a phone call. “Sweetie, we completely understand,” my mother said. “But we’re really coming to see Rhode Island, not you!”
Nice try Mom. The most interesting things in Rhode Island are me and that guy yelling about God on Thayer Street. And since you don’t know about him, I know why you’re here. To torture me.
But never fear, Blog Readers. I’ve come up with some clever methods of subverting my parents’ attempts to connect with me. It’s called Parental Protection, and remember to use it this weekend. Because with parents, honesty is never the best policy.
Parent Protection Plan
1. “So honey, what’s the love life like?” For the entirety of my adolescent life, my mother has been distressed and confounded by my inability to connect with straight members of the opposite sex. I had to do something to put her out of her misery.
Enter Ricardo, my suave, Ecuadorian, completely fictional boyfriend. Think Antonio Banderas meets Patrick Dempsey in Grey’s Anatomy. Ricardo and I met the third week of freshman year, and we’ve been on-again off-again ever since. He’s Hispanic, which is perfect, since my mother wants biracial grandchildren. Since he goes home to Ecuador every vacation, he never gets to meet my family during breaks. Unfortunately, every time my parents visit, Ricardo and I are in a fight. This week Ricardo is upset with me because I spend too much time in the library and not enough time with him. What can I say? If my man doesn’t respect my bond with the SciLi, he’s gotta go.
We’ll be back together next week though.
2. The Grade Question. It’s only halfway through the semester. Everybody knows that we only bring out the big guns in terms of studying during the second half, when we realize how shitty our grades are. However, somehow Mumsy and Pop-Pop don’t see it that way. So fake it until you make it. I’m a big fan of printing out my history papers and scribbling something illegible at the bottom with a big circled A. Then, I lay it out casually on my desk so my parents can pick it up. They won’t bother reading the comments—they won’t be able to. And it’s totally believable! Like doctors, professors (and smart people in general) always have shitty handwriting. (Take that, third grade handwriting teacher. Bitch).
3. Clean your shit. Wash your clothes. Pick the stuff up from your floor. Take out the trash. Hide the used condoms. Don’t. Be. A. Dumbass.
4. Alcohol and drugs. Get rid of it, unless your parent is the kind who likes to relive their old days at the Frat House. In which case, Mazel Tov. And for god’s sake, don’t leave your marijuana paraphernalia everywhere.
5. Wear presentable clothing. I know we all like to dress like homeless people and lumberjacks, but that doesn’t fly with most parents, particularly when they’re from the South. Pull out that cream collared cardigan and peacoat. Remember: it’s only for 48 hours.
6. Alternative Halloween costume. Now ladies, I know we all plan on being creative and dressing up as the Federal Deficit by wearing as little as possible, but I don’t think Daddy will approve. So when they ask to see your Halloween costume, whip out something terrifying a la Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls. I plan on showing them an Elphaba costume—greenface, warts and all. Remember, this is for their own good: they can’t handle the truth.
7. Get them together with other parents. All parents need friends! And they can chat about all your failings together, while you complain about them with your friends. It’s a win-win.
8. Redirect the attention towards the other sibling. Whenever they start critiquing your life, make a hasty redirect Paul Ryan-style to something else. Your siblings always are a good topic. There’s always something wrong with your siblings.
9. Milk Family Weekend for all that it’s worth. Your parents haven’t seen you for a while. They probably still like you. Brrr it’s cold. You get a jacket. Mmmm I’m hungry. You get a night out at Federal Hill. If you say you’re depressed because of Seasonal Affective Disorder, you might get that trip to Cuba you’ve always wanted. No shame, guys—they’re invading our territory, but we can still reap the rewards.
10. Fake a healthy lifestyle. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been surviving off chips, pizza, and ice cream for the past seven weeks. That may be fine with my youthful metabolism, but it’s not gonna fly with my parents. So I’ve stocked my refrigerator with carrots, Greek yogurt, and Diet Coke (yuck) and also “borrowed” a couple of dumbbells from Grad Center gym. When my parents see my room, they’ll be super impressed.
11. Under no circumstances should you let them stay in your room. I’ve heard numerous instances of parents getting offended because their sweetie-kins won’t let them sleep in their dorm room. I don’t know what kind of Cohabitation Parenting you went through, but stop it. Now. The Westin is open. Or Motel 6.
12. Do not let them use your childhood nicknames around your friends. My parents, for some reason completely unknown to me, have always called me “Little Cara Binnie-Boobs.” I think it’s a British thing. Needless to say, as a thirteen-year-old “Late Bloomer,” this nickname was never and will never be appreciated. Don’t let them expose their cutesy nickname for you.
I guess the most I can say about Family Weekend is: I hate it, but I love my parents. And I know my parents must love me to fake an interest in Rhode Island. So I’ll buckle down, adopt protective strategies, and try to enjoy it. Good luck, comrades. See you on the other side.