Parent’s Weekend

Posted On March 8, 2024

On today’s Keepin’ It Real, Cam shares something he saw last weekend that made him feel a little bit better about things.


I’m in Starbucks. It’s Saturday. It’s Noon. I’m in Tuscaloosa at the corner of Bryant Drive and 8th Avenue. Sororities across the street disgorging young ladies for their morning cups of honey-dew latté with extra chai, extra vanilla essence and a dash of bumble bee eyelashes or something like that. Yoga pants as far as the eye can see. One girl wearing a T-shirt reading Don’t Date Frat Boys. Parents here for fraternity and sorority parent’s weekend. Dads wearing dad jeans and comfy shoes. Moms perfectly coifed wearing fancy sneakers.

My son’s fraternity threw a party here in Tuscaloosa last night. The party planners likely said, “Get a band old people will like.” The music was, indeed, for old people. Older than any of the parents there. As soon as I heard the first song, the count began – how many songs before Mustang Sally. It was seven. There’s not a band that plays under a tent on a lawn at a quote-unquote “old person party” that doesn’t play Mustang Sally within the first ten songs. They don’t exist. It’s as if everyone, including the band, just wants to get it out of the way. The same with Brick House and “let me hear you scream!”

The lead singer came on in the second set. Her energy moved a lot of old people to the dance floor. It became an old person’s careful shuffle, protecting aching knees, hips, and backs. Lots of moms and dads who never had dance moves or who had lost their dance moves decades ago packed the dance floor, shaking arrhythmically like dancing on a shaking fault line. Brightly colored wigs appeared. Confetti cannons. Parents shuffling together, ignoring their aches and pains. Advil will take care of tomorrow. I left for the bathroom and returned to find my wife in the front row. She waved me up. I pretended not to see, standing with my son who was rightly proud that his fraternity was entertaining so many people, so many old people, so well. It was a great time.

Look at who I now am, my son seemed to be saying, standing next to me. Look at these new friends. This new environment. These new people who know me and like me and search me out in the crowd to say hello. I shook dozens of hands. Tried to remember names. Tried to remember parent’s names. I’m a guest in his world. A new world that he’s forged for himself. Full of new people from far off places who were unknown to him just a short seven months ago. They now laugh together like old friends do. They share funny looks and make references to inside jokes.

As a parent you wonder how your children will turn out. What will influence who they are and who they’ll become. You try to raise them right, the way you think is best, but parenting is just a portion of it. There are so many factors. And you wonder. And you worry.

And then you see your child thriving in a good environment full of good people. An environment that he’s created for himself. And you smile a bit. And you worry a little less.

I’m Cam Marston, just trying to keep it real.

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