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.
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.)
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 f
rom 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.
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).
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.