Parent’s Weekend: New Families Are All Alike

New Family Weekend Football Game

If Tolstoy had attended New Family Weekend at Texas A&M University he might have revised his famous line to read, New Families are all alike.  I had imagined a weekend among New Families just like us, helping our freshman find his way, establishing new traditions, and being part of something bigger than ourselves.  

But we missed the New Family check-in on Friday night because of teenagers not interested in driving to College Station.  Thereafter, captive teenagers restricted communication to text messages, and they really had something to text about when we checked into the last motel room in town.  Note to new New Families: reserve hotel room at time of initial application to school.  We missed the Second Chance Check-In and showed up at an Aggie football game wearing sky blue, to the mortification of our freshman.  He tried to lose us in the sea of maroon (official school color) but failed, owing to the blueness of our shirts.  The one family member wearing a maroon t-shirt, did however, get lost.  Everything was in confusion in our row as we spent most of the game searching for the lost family member and responding to emergency text messages from stay-at-home-son requesting a remote pizza order (parent refused) and informing us that the family dog had chewed a bottle of melatonin (dog survived). 

And then a cannon fired and I thought we were finished forever.

But our team had scored, and the marching band launched into the Aggie Fight Song.  Our freshman knew the words.  All eighty-three thousand people stood and the maroon shirted  person next to me reached out with his left arm and told me to place my right leg behind his left leg so he could catch me if I fell.  He didn’t care that my shirt was blue and my teenagers were texting or lost.  We swayed, along with eighty-three thousand other maroon shirted  people, and I realized the sense of unconditional belonging, a reason we’d wanted this school for our freshman.  And I silently blessed my neighbor for taking us newbies under his wing.     

If we hadn’t missed the New Family Tailgate Party I’m certain that we would have met others just like us.


Filed under Cindy Jones, moment of clarity, teenagers

4 responses to “Parent’s Weekend: New Families Are All Alike

  1. jlspsi

    Hullabaloo, Caneck! Caneck!
    Varsity’s horns are sawed off! Short!

    My freshman year in college was the first year women were allowed to attend A&M (do the math on my age) and having attended Aggie football games all my life it was hard to choose to go somewhere else, disappoint my Aggie father, not bleed maroon…I still get tears in my eyes when the band strikes up The Aggie War Hymn or The Spirit of Aggieland. I still know all the words to both. I can stumble around the school and fight songs of my alma mater because sorority pledges were made to learn them. I’ll always be a little sad that A&M at that point in time had little to offer in the arts forcing me to look elsewhere, that I’m not a “real” Aggie. Hmmm, I’ll bet there’s a little maroon flowing in my veins.

    • You know the words! What wonderful memories, going to the games with your dad. My dad enjoyed Ohio State football games all his life (as you know), and being at the A&M game, watching the marching band, made me think of him.

  2. Celia

    Blue shirted A&M parents at a football game? Sounds like fodor for an Aggie joke. Watch out!
    Gotta bleed maroon.
    CJP –

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