Michelle Martin

Family weekend

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

When my husband, Teresa and I arrived in Caroline’s city, ready to help her move from one apartment (summer sublet) to another (first off-campus housing), she called down the hall to her roommates, “Guys, my family’s here!”

We spent the next three days helping her pack, disassembling furniture, cleaning, hauling her furniture and boxes from one neighborhood to another (to pick up the keys for the new place) to another, to meet her new roommates and help her move in. Then we assembled furniture, took her and a friend out for dinner and brought her back to our hotel to spend one more night sleeping in air conditioning.

In between, we went to the hotel pool at least a couple of times a day with Teresa, ate in lots of different kinds of restaurants, and sent pictures and requests for information to Frank, who stayed home because he had his own responsibilities.

More than once, especially after carrying the second dresser up the stairs and installing new blinds (without the help of a power drill), Caroline thanked us for making the trip. More than once, when Teresa’s energy flagged or she looked bored, we reminded her that we (including her brother and sister) would likely be doing the same thing for her in not so many years.

To both of them, we said, that’s what you do for your family. If someone needs help, and you can give it, you do. If they are reluctant to ask, you offer. And you buy them lunch and dinner while you’re at it.

Sure, it was easier when the kids were smaller, when the favors they needed were rides to school and to activities, or help with homework. When all of us slept under the same roof almost every night, and there were times that I could reach out and touch all of them without ever getting up from my chair.

Now, with Caroline at school out of state, and Frank getting ready to leave in a year or so, it’s more of an effort. Communications technology helps: Caroline has texted to ask how to make the foods she liked best growing up, and we can send photos, share information and talk without worrying about the cost.

But we still like to see them, and this was the last realistic opportunity for at least most of us to see Caroline until Thanksgiving, although one of us will likely visit sometime around family weekend in October. 

The fact is, we’ve spent enough time in her city recently to have opinions on the different Target stores and to have favorite restaurants there. 
Soon, when Frank goes to college, we’ll likely be exploring another city. 

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus points out that no parent would give their child a stone when they ask for bread, or a snake when they asked for fish. God the Father also gives good gifts to his children, he says.

Because that’s what family does.


  • family life