Comings and Goings

It was 8:43 on November 14th when I heard the first rumblings.

“Mommy!!” they yelled (because they think it’s funny to call me that), “Wake up!!!”

“GRKAMFNBLABLLHHH” came my reply.

“It’s party time!!!!” the knocking on my door persisted.  I heard Razor scooters rolling down the hallway, and knew it was no use.

“We agreed on 9!  I still have fifteen minutes!” I protested.  In that moment, I knew exactly what it was like to have small children on Christmas morning (yes, I know I need to cool it on these Christmas morning analogies.  But this one is just so apt!)  Except instead of presents under the tree, my kiddies were looking forward to tailgating in the driving rain, wearing lots and lots of purple, and beating up on Amherst.

Well, we accomplished the first two at least.  Though the outcome of the game was heartbreaking, I think we discovered that it doesn’t matter all that much.  Win or lose, Homecoming is awesome.  While my Frosh got to revel in the excitement for the first time, my view of the event became more nuanced this year.  This was the first time that I’ve been able to really appreciate the “coming home” portion of Homecoming.  After slowly and surely getting used to all of my graduated friends being gone, they were suddenly back… and I realized just how much I missed them all.  From team reunions to hanging out with my own JAs,  Homecoming weekend was a blast from the past (and a nice reminder to my Frosh that hey, Tiny Dancer has her own life, too).

When I woke up the day after the big game, there was a pit in my stomach that I couldn’t equate only to exhaustion.  It felt like the end of summer camp, when you realize that you have to say goodbye to your friends and don’t know when you’ll see them again.  Since summer, we’ve been able to say “See you at Homecoming!”… but now Homecoming is over, just as soon as it started.  When I hugged my JA goodbye for the last time that Sunday, it hit me how quickly this year is going.  I know it’s a little premature, but I’m not ready to leave Williams yet.  Not by a long shot.

Two weeks later, we had an entirely different sort of home coming in store- a home going, if you will.  Thanksgiving break is always a strange time, particularly for First Years.  For most of my Frosh, this past week marked the first return to their hometowns since  August.  A lot can change in three months time.

For me, Thanksgiving break this year was necessary in a way that it has never been before.  To be frank, I hit a wall.  This is the first year that I’ve had to go all the way to break without seeing my family, and the first year that I’ve really felt overwhelmed by my schoolwork, and the first year that I’ve tried to balance being a JA with being a student, and an athlete, and a friend to people outside the class of 2013.  I was exhausted, and my Frosh could tell.  I hate showing any weakness in front of them (something I need to work on, for sure), so I knew things were bad when they started asking me what was wrong.  “I just really need Thanksgiving break” was always my answer, and it was true.

Well, break has now come and gone- in fact, I’m writing this entry on a bus bound for Williamstown.  The time I spent at home was relaxing, for sure, but it passed much too quickly.  Still, while a part of me wishes I had just a few more days to sleep in and forget about the mountains of homework that await me, I am anxious to get back to my Froshies.

Honestly, I can’t wait to hear about all the adventures they had while they were away.  I had cautioned them, before we left, that break was going to be weird- the changes that all of them have been going through over the past few months are sure to be revealed against the familiar backdrop of old friends and old places.  Over the past few days, I’ve received messages from various Frosh, proclaiming “I miss the entry!” I remember that feeling well; it is just downright strange to wake up in the morning and not immediately have twenty people to play with.  Hopefully, though, my Frosh used Thanksgiving break to reflect on their first three months at Williams and recharge for the grueling finals period ahead.

I know I, for one, gave thanks on Thursday for having such a wonderful, caring, fun entry.  Sometimes I think that they are the only things keeping me sane throughout this tumultuous year.  Or maybe they’re the ones driving me crazy… it’s a fine line, indeed.

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