Free at last” I thought in June — no more parental involvement in school matters now that my beloved daughter was college bound.
Last month, when Bri informed me that Pace’s orientation would be in July and it was for us both, I looked forward to the occasion as most people look forward to having a root canal — you know you have to do it but you really don’t want to.
Little did I know when I said “yes” that the orientation would take place smack dab in the middle of a record breaking heat wave. Readers of this column know that I don’t do heat well. And even frigid cold air conditioning doesn’t make me any happier. Truth be told, the only place that I long to be during the New York summer is the South Pole.
Ah, but the things we do for love and family. It was 8 am and the temperature had already hit 90 degrees as I stood in line along with the other parents waiting to be herded into the Shimmel Center Auditorium at Pace University for the continental breakfast and a full day of activities. Marijo Russell-O’Grady, dean of students, conveyed us inside as quickly as possible where cold drinks, fruit platters, and muffins awaited.
It was at this time that I discovered that Bri was required to stay overnight at the campus and that I would be able to pick her up the next day after 2 pm. Overnight? No way. We were not prepared.
Why didn’t Bri tell me? Why don’t children ever tell you? As soon as I figure that one out, you’ll be the first one I share it with.
Hot, crazed and totally disoriented, I immediately set out to discuss this development with the dean. After a little bit of haggling, the dean, realizing I was a woman on the edge and wasn’t about to give in on this matter, consented that Bri could leave after the freshman BBQ at 6 pm, but would have to be back by 8 am the next morning. No problem, I would have her back bright and early.
The day progressed, our session ended at 3 pm and there I was free to explore the streets of Manhattan for the next three hours.
There was only one teensy-weeny problem, the New York City streets were hotter than Hades on a Saturday night, tipping the thermometer at 102 degrees in the shade.
Where to go, what to do, would I survive?
I managed to walk across the street to the Barnes and Noble book store before the inferno walloped my strength and left me breathless. I stayed there spending money on books and magazines I didn’t need and the largest cold water bottle I could find. I cooled off somewhat, made my way back to the college and waited for Bri so we could face the long, hot, exhausting trip home.
Had I known that morning how tortuous the commute home — by subway, ferry, and train — was going to be and how miserable I was going to feel, I would have driven in. Damn the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the BQE, and the expensive parking tab, at least I would have had a seat and my own car to collapse into at the end of the day.
Not for Nuthin ™,I thank the fates I survived, but what I really want to know is when will parental involvement finally end?