After the excitement of the Tercentennial, Parents’ Weekend seems a lackluster second act, even though every marginally artistic group is performing. But for the lucky Yalies whose parents are journeying back to New Haven — obviously not for its scenic landscape — these two days mean much more than stodgy convocations and extravagant laser light shows.
This weekend, parents will proudly see how their life savings are benefiting their children’s cultural refinement and academic enrichment. Countless shows will highlight Yale’s performing arts, even though parents will miss out on the beer pong, drunken impromptu karaoke, and the lithe choreography of stumbling upstairs after an overachieving night of partying.
Unfortunately, the $2,000 airfare from Hawaii and 48 hours of traveling have deterred my parents from visiting their little baby girl. I would be willing to refinance the mortgage … again … to see my parents and stave off seasonal affectation disorder and midterm madness. When Camp Yale is kicking and the weather is warm, we sometimes forget our parents do more than pay our tuition and take us out to eat real food at one of those restaurants we can never afford, like the Union League Cafe and Scoozi’s.
At 19 years of age, I am finally not ashamed to say I miss my parents. After eighteen years of “conflicting beliefs,” we now have a great relationship 5,000 miles away from each other. When I first moved into Old Campus, I couldn’t wait to send them away to avoid embarrassment. Now all I want is my mom to come and do a couple — okay, four — loads of laundry, cook me something without the words “Hearty” or “Sloppy Soy,” and administer the Nyquil for my cold since I tend to pour a little too much.
As “7th Heaven”-ish as our relationship seems now, my adolescence was the 20th century Revolutionary War, complete with wild chases featuring a miniature San Francisco Giants wooden bat and now-deformed hangers. Being the youngest daughter in an Asian family is not exactly conducive to freedom or leniency. My passionate and elaborate undertakings would have impressed Yale’s most radical activists: I pinned up a replica of the Declaration of Independence, crafted grandiose plans to strike it out on my own, and made cathartic videotapes in my room denouncing my captivity, a la Real World.
My rigid midnight curfew and warden-like parents earned me the name “Basement Girl,” for being chained up in my basement dungeon. Each time before going out, I had to face an exhausting interrogation of “Who? What? When? Where? Why?” and a couple hypothetical situations testing my self-defense and risk-evasion skills.
But the buffer of 48 states seem to have moderated my parents’ anxious strictness. I actually enjoy talking to them (not more than once a week) and am especially happy when I receive their mail and prolific e-mails. My dad loves to send me these random newspaper clippings vaguely related to Yale and even highlights the key points! I was going to tell him to stop sending me articles I never read, but then I remembered the crisp bill that always accompanies them and told him to keep mailing me those interesting and informative articles.
In addition to being my unconditional supporter, my amazing mother has become my close companion and most loving shrink. Once a staunch opponent and inspector of my alcohol consumption, she wants to drink pinot noir with me, even though she can only down half a glass before her face flushes and she’s babbling ecstatically.
Although my parents’ idiosyncrasies still have an uncanny ability to embarrass me in public, I would proudly show off my gifted classmates to them and, conversely, my gifted parents to my classmates. During this time of national tragedy and imminent winter hell, I miss my parents more than anything. I haven’t always been the best or most obedient daughter, but like my parents always say, as long as you try your hardest, that’s all that matters. And Mom and Dad, you did, and that’s all that matters. For my parents and the many others who have warred with, loved, and comforted us long before we were self-assured Yalies, thank you and we love you.
Nicole Lim is a sophomore in Berkeley College. Her columns appear on alternate Fridays.