Send The Elevator Back Down: Parent’s Weekend

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This is something Kevin Spacey‘s mentor, the late Jack Lemmon used to tell the young aspiring actor.  Now 55 years of age, it is one piece of advice he has taken to heart. And one he eagerly passed on to 6,000 plus Villanova parents, students and faculty at this year’s Parent’s Weekend event Mr. B and I attended, this past Saturday night.

Send the elevator back down.

Think about that for a minute.

I love it!

True to his younger self as a comedian, Kevin Spacey had us all in stitches with his dry humor and infamous impressions.  Knowing that he was addressing a Catholic University, he was careful to warn us of his tendency to “drop the F-bomb” on one or more occasion.   “I promise not to drop the F-ing F-bomb”, he said to Reverend Peter, the President of Villanova.  He entertained us with his perfectly crafted Johnny Carson impression as well as a flawless, Bill Clinton.

He expanded on the elevator quote by reminding us not to let the number of floors between us and those who are less fortunate, become too large.  He also encouraged the students to take risks and go out of their way to reach their dreams.

My dream was to run on stage and hug Kevin to death but seeing that his two-year crazy stalker woman from Massachusetts just got a maximum sentence for stalking him, I decided not to listen to his advice to take a risk.   I will however, be sending the elevator down always, from now on.  And of course, binge-watch House of Cards episodes.

This could have been me! bigstory.ap.org

This could have been me!
bigstory.ap.org

After driving for 6 hours in Friday traffic through the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania for Parent’s Weekend,  we arrived at our hotel which was located in the vicinity of the largest Shopping Mall in the United States of America.  I am referring to the well-shopped, King Of Prussia Mall.  It is the King, Queen and the entire royal family of malls.  Wow.  You need to follow a maze of highways and roads to get to the actual mall.

[Speaking of malls, I have a question that has been on my mind since my kids were pre-teens that maybe you can help me out with.  Why on earth do stores like Hollister and Albercombie and Fitch soak their clothing, racks, counter tops, floors and walls with gallons upon gallons of men’s cologne?  For the love of nasal cavities!  Walking into these stores is a hostile assault on our fragile olfactory systems.  Anyone?]

We saw our little girl for about one half hour before jumping in bed from exhaustion.  We were naïve in thinking that she may want to sleep with her mom and dad at the hotel (What?  It could have happened…),so we got a suite.  Hello?  Sure enough, she returned to her dorm with her roommate to do something with some friends.

On Saturday, we took her to a popular place for breakfast and let her talk and talk and talk.  She told us about the things she liked and the things she was still trying to get used to.  She joined the club swimming team and was happy to get back in the water doing her killer butterfly stroke.  She was thrilled to have won a raffle that allows her to go to all the Villanova basketball games without having to enter the game lottery (which apparently is a big deal since the games are always sold out.)

There's that scary Wildcat again. villanova.edu

There’s that scary Wildcat again.
villanova.edu

Next, we were off to the Villanova vs. James Madison football game.  Football does not get the attention basketball does but the stadium was in fact packed with alumni, parents and a lot of freshmen.  Mr. B loves football so he was enjoying the game even though the first half did not go well for the Wildcats.  Our plan was to  stay for the first half and then head over to the mall from hell to get our daughter things she needed.  Mr. B was not thrilled.  Especially after hearing that Villanova beat James Madison and he missed it.

photo 2-14 IMG_1843

 After being carried out in a stretcher surviving the mall and feeling like my arthritic feet were walking on a field of golf balls, we went to dinner with my daughter’s roommate and her mom.  Love them both!  We headed back to campus to watch Kevin Spacey speak.  Once that ended, the girls made it clear to us parents once again, that there would be no Kumbaya-ing as a family back at the hotel.  They had plans, once again.

When Sunday came along we noticed that our hugs got tighter and longer in duration.  We took her to the bookstore for some more Villanova apparel she had to have and then to lunch.  When it came time for our final goodbyes, that’s when it hit us all.  I couldn’t let go of her, Mr. B held her hand a little tighter and her eyes got teary (kill me now).

nymetroparents.com

nymetroparents.com

As we drove away, dragging our broken hearts with us, I remembered something I learned two years ago after dropping our son off when he was a freshman.

The end of September and the month of October are times when homesickness is more likely to kick in.  The honeymoon is over in that the excitement and newness of being in college and away from home has subsided to some degree.  Now they begin to realize that they are there to study (not just party) and that they miss the familiar, the known and the comfortable.  Suddenly they discover that they are on their own and that it is all up to them to navigate through the complicated web of “college life”.

They were on top of the world as seniors in high school, and now find themselves at the bottom of the barrel and having to figure out who they are and how they are going to succeed in college.  A daunting task.

Although we know our daughter is happy, there is a difficult adjustment period during freshmen year, that is quite normal.  There is also a pretty difficult adjustment period for the parents that is also, normal.

Painful, but normal nevertheless.

 

46 thoughts on “Send The Elevator Back Down: Parent’s Weekend

  1. Dearest Cuchita,

    Because I am soooooo technically challenged, I did not know how to Reply to this blog in it’s original blog space…..so I am replying here:

    Only one thing, the reason that a store like Abercombe drowns itself it cologne is to help you locate the items using your nose because the LIGHT (or should I say LACK OF LIGHT) in the freaking store does not allow you to SEE what you are actually buying!!!!!!

    Love,

    Me

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  2. Aw, I’m tearing up reading about you saying goodby to your little girl. Your weekend experience was so typical, and so spot-on. It’s a tough time for all when they’re spreading their wings.

    My youngest graduated college in the spring, and both my kids moved halfway across the country this summer. I just got back from visiting them and, as you relate, it was delightful and painful.

    Love the idea of sending the elevator back down!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I adore Kevin Spacey, absolutely loved him in American Beauty and The Usual Suspects. Brilliant. I would have been that crazy woman running over to him…ha! So glad you got to spend this time with your lovely daughter and despite the huge pull at the heartstrings in having to say goodbye once again, it sounds as if you are all settling down to the new routine as well as you can. Yes, all the stuff of normal college life, but still, never easy…hugs my friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My sis-in-law is heading down at some point to my niece and nephew’s university. (They attend the same one. Very handy.)
    Sounds like you had a great time. And Kevin Spacey! Love his advice!!! I’m sorry you didn’t get a chance to hug him though. I can see how you would be put off by stalker woman’s sentencing. 🙂
    It’s hard isn’t it, to let the children go. I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about how you’re going through that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very handy and convenient that your niece and nephew are at the same university! I wonder if she will notice a difference between them in terms of how they react to the reunion with their parents. Lot’s of emotions. If she needs an ear, I’ll be happy to listen. 🙂

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  5. Your post is very timely. We will be heading to our Parent Weekend in 3 weeks. It sounds like it was a great weekend. And Kevin Spacey! Very cool. 🙂 I think it’s really great when a public figure can give inspiration like that. I’m hoping we hear something equally inspiring when we make our trek across the country to see our son. 🙂

    I have to give a shout out to your daughter for being a “fly girl”- I had a fly girl myself and talk about inspiring. Swimmers have to work their asses off to get anywhere!!

    I will be keeping this post in mind when my son has other plans than seeing us on Parent Weekend. His dad was able to pry me away when we left him there a month ago but I suspect this time will be much harder.

    Thanks again for sharing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kat! Fly girls are a rare find, aren’t they? I never understood how my daughter had the strength and power to do the butterfly and do it well.

      Good luck at your son’s Parent’s Weekend. I am sure it will be wonderful and he will be happy to see you. Definitely don’t expect him to hang out with you in the hotel room. I’ll be here if you need me when you return. 🙂

      Like

    1. I love Kevin too! I COULD be that stalker woman, you know.
      As long as my kids are doing okay, I am okay with them being gone. Watching her get all emotional is what killed me! This too shall pass, right? Time to head over to your place and PARTAY!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Everybody is going to be great, daughter and parents. You thought she would stay with you at the hotel. On a weekend night. Wow. And next time, Mr. B., stand up for your rights and stay for the whole football game, dagnabbit! The King of Prussia Mall sure as heck ain’t growing legs and running away! Mrs. B, I’m glad you didn’t run up and hug Kevin Spacey and get arrested. Although that might have made for quite an “insiders” blog post. How do you look in horizontal stripes? You like bars, right? Oops, not those kind of bars! I loved this post, Maria. I felt like I was at Villanova. Thanks for sharing the Wildcat weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha,ha! I honestly though she might want to hang out with us in our King size bed and snuggle. But, yea. What was I thinking? It was the weekend, after all. I am learning, slowly but surely. 🙂

      Mr. B is such an awesome hubby and daddy. He knew we needed him to drive through the maze to get to the mall so he took us. Had it been The Patriots, he would have sent us home packing!

      As to Kevin (my new bff), it was his loss. 🙂 I was jealous of a couple of students who asked him to take selfies with him. He let them go up on stage and everything. Sigh. Next time! 🙂 How are those TV dinners going, btw?

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      1. I treated myself to Chinese, bought enough to have leftover Chinese. 🙂 Then roast beef sandwiches followed by salami sandwiches. Tomorrow will be the Hungry Man Fried Chicken Dinner, Mrs. B. Wow, I’m eating like a true bachelor. Scary. Thanks for asking. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Maria, you always have a way of bringing on the tears. What a beautiful post. For your daughter, there will never be a place like home. Yes, she’ll want to be with her friends and have fun, but her heart will always be with you and Mr. Brickhouse.
    Well, I’m not sure I would have had as much self-control. I love Kevin Spacey with the exception of the movie “Seven”…he was creepy in that movie.
    You rock, Brickhouse! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jill. I would have felt better if I hadn’t seen her almost break down as we said goodbye. 😦 She will be home in three weeks which will be nice for her to remember that her home and family will always be here for her.

      Some students got to ask Kevin questions after his presentation and one girl even got to take a selfie with him! I was soooo jealous. My daughter would have died if I had gone up there. LOL. 🙂

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    1. Piper! I have missed seeing your smiling face. I hope all is good with you. I am way behind on my blog reading so I will have to head over to your place to see what you have been up to.

      I need to binge-watch ALL of Kevin Spacey’s movies and shows. That would be such a fun thing to do on a rainy or snowy day.

      Like

  8. Duuuude that is an awesome quote and how great was it that he was there at Parents’ Weekend! That had to be great! Dude that has to be a positive in the empty nest syndrome. He’s such a great actor and what a treat that you got a chance to hear him speak. I know I’m gonna be going through what you are in about 15 years and I’ll probably be dreading it. Stay strong mujer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Guat, when that time comes for you to take your babies to college, count on me to send the elevator down to you! I will even ride down and hold the door open for you. 🙂

      Kevin was entertaining. He is one talented man!

      Like

  9. Terrific post, and so very true —all of it, from Jack Lemmon’s advice to the reality of life settling in when kids leave home for college. And I have to say, on another note, I would drive six hours to hear Kevin Spacey read the phone book. He’s one of my favorites 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a beautiful post, Maria. I expect you’re spot on about the timing of homesickness. I waved good-bye to my parents in late August with barely a backwards glance. By mid-October, I was desperate to make a trip home to re-visit the familiar.

    Sounds like Kevin Spacey gave a wonderful talk. I’m glad you didn’t follow in his stalker’s footsteps. 😉

    Now, rest up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Nancy! I remember my freshman year right about this time, when one of the girls on our floor began to cry. We all went to her room to comfort her and it wasn’t long before we all started balling. One of the sophomores ran around the hall yelling, “The freshmen are crying, the freshmen are crying!” hee,hee

      Not only was Kevin (my buddy now) entertaining, but his messages were very inspiring. Yes, I have been resting for the past two days. 🙂

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  11. Oh my gosh. You saw KEVIN SPACEY?? In PERSON??? He is one of my all-time favorite actors. I’m convinced he can play anyone. Good to hear that he may just be good enough to send the elevator back down.

    I’ll wager your daughter will be bringing some of her friends home (my STARS!!) by the end of term. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Andra. I was so excited to see him. He was just as classy and amazing as I imagined him to be. What a brilliant actor and man. It’s impressive what he has done and how he got to where he is now. He’s quite the rebel and did not let anything hold him back. Wish I could have jumped on him!

      I know my daughter will be okay but it was tough to say goodbye and see her get emotional. I hope she continues to be honest with us and lets us know how she is doing.

      Like

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