A Modern Family college visit

As promised, the New Year brings some humor to our office blog–and our first guest writer! We are very pleased to present Benjamin S. ’13 and his amusing essay about visiting a college in the Boston area. You will chuckle at least once when you read this account of the family misadventures; it is also an essay full of heart. We extend our appreciation to Ben and his parents!

Ben S. and his parents beside the Highlander

Ben S. and his parents beside the Highlander

One shoe. My mom brought only one shoe to our college tour. One solitary shoe. It was raining early Saturday morning and my parents and I set off on our drive to a prospective college. And of course, we were running late. Only one hour and hunger struck us. It seemed like our stomachs were having interesting conversations with one another. So, we got off at an exit and entered the Dunkin Donuts Drive Thru. We suspected that the disastrous shoe loss must have occurred here when my mom opened the door to throw out an empty bag. Three glazed sticks and one hot chocolate later, we were back on our way.

Our drive was over and our hunger was satisfied. As my dad and I stepped out of our Highlander we signaled to our favorite lady to pick up the pace because we arrived with only five minutes to spare. Seconds later, a slight scream and a face full of panic explained the extended wait. Now my dad and I are scanning underneath the seats and outside of the vehicle. To no avail, there was only one shoe. In a sorry attempt to help or to be humorous, my dad, the baseball aficionado, called my mom “our own Shoeless Joe Jackson”. Unfortunately, the joke’s timing was poor and so too was our timing for the tour, so we decided that my mom would take the car and find a convenience store that sold shoes cheaply. One parent down, one to go.

My dad and I were far away from the admissions office due to the surprising hubbub that occurred. We had a treacherous journey ahead of us, climbing up steep steps and walking on this hilly campus at a constantly accelerating velocity. As a track runner, these stairs came to me easily, but to a father of three, they could be seen as quite the hurdle. So, I tried to coach my dad and give him pointers on what to stretch and how, but it was to no avail. He understandably needed a short break and with his last breath, he shouted, “Go on without me and don’t look back”. And that I did. Two parents down, zero to go.

I walked into the Admissions Office, a lone survivor. I expected to feel liberation. Freedom from stressed out, worn out, one-shoed, and too tired parents. I checked in at the desk, out of breath and ready to collapse into the comfortable waiting chairs without the accompaniment of any parents. I expected to feel relieved from my parents’ overbearing care and from having to tend to those parents. I expected to feel independent. And perhaps I did – momentarily at least. As I sat there waiting, though I felt alone. I felt worried for myself but even more for my parents. I realized that my family is like magnets, ever getting along and sticking together, ever repulsed and pushing each other away.

As all the other students and their families and I walked to meet the tour guides shout their introductions, I saw a beacon of hope, or wait a moment, was that the sun shining off my dad’s bald head? As it turns out, I had one of my parents back! About a quarter of the way through the tour, we spotted a woman with a grin on her face as large as her new, orange oversized flip-flops, courtesy of CVS. We were now complete again. How odd we looked, indeed. My mom was wearing open toed shoes amidst the pouring rain and cold temperature. My dad, panting and gasping, barely made his way to the tour that day. But alas, we stood and will stand an inseparable family reunited.

by guest blogger Ben S. ’13