Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Destination Notre Dame {Day 5: Move-In Day}

Assisting the sophomore moving company, Tim and Peter haul Zachary's gear out of the van at Knott Hall.
Our official campus move-in pass displayed on the dashboard as instructed, we trekked from our South Bend hotel to the University of Notre Dame and took our place in a long line of vehicles loaded with excited freshmen dorm inhabitants and their furnishings.  Rather like waiting for a ferry on a holiday crossing, we inched along at single digits speeds for nearly an hour. Along the fenced border of a large grassy field where the marching band rehearsed in the morning sun, we lifted the seat belt requirement a rode along with the sliding door wide open, feet dangling.

Car door-to-door hospitality provided by the Notre Dame parents’ club delivered cold water bottles, campus maps and driving directions to the nearby superstores for any last minute shopping needs.  Eager sophomores greeted us as we finally pulled up the front entrance of Zachary’s new home at Knott Hall.  Whisking Zachary off to sign for his room key, his new dorm-mates unloaded Zac’s belongings from our van and delivered them to his new room on the third floor.
Zac and his new roommate, Joe, rearrange the furnishings to their liking as Joe's parents look on.
Finding his Google-Earth assisted measurements to be precisely accurate, Zachary lost no time unpacking to inhabit his12x16 cinder block double dorm room.  A friendly resident assistant suggested removing the closet doors which would allow ease of access to the main storage areas and offered tools for the project.  The especially anticipated move-in moment occurred when Zachary’s new roommate, Joe, arrived together with his parents, Linda and Steve.  A gentle-spirited and serious young man, slightly on the shy side, Joe immediately hit it off with Zac and simultaneously won my heart.  I offered silent, fervent prayers of gratitude for the complimentary pairing and for the opportunity to get to know Joe’s parents.
Zachary and Joe in their new room in Knott Hall at the University of  Notre Dame.
A drop-in dorm visit by our Bellingham friend, Matt (ND sophomore), and his mom, Vicki, was a great consolation and spirits lifted to see their familiar faces.  Matt and his mom gave sound suggestions and answered many questions for us in the months, days and hours prior to Zac’s move to Notre Dame. Having them join in the joy of Zac’s first day on campus was certainly fitting. By divine providence we ended up eating lunch with Matt, Vicki, and another Bellingham youth group friend, Drew, and his family on the grass outside the campus ministry welcome barbecue tent. 
Matt, Zac, and Drew at the campus ministry-sponsored picnic lunch on Freshmen move-in day at ND.
Bellingham moms unite on the grounds of Notre Dame; Vicki, Bridget and Diane.

Many booths set up to provide insightful leads for students and parents on campus, we collected treats and freebies while learning about the various campus services, work study options and extra curricular offerings.  Anxious to settle in to his new dorm room, Zac took us up on our offer to do a bit of running around in town on his behalf.  Had we known we would need to visit four stores before a box of thumbtacks could be found…

Reuniting for a walk to the family friendly dinner served at the dining hall, we were blessed to find five seats all together right next to Zac’s new roommate and his parents.  Although the noise level in the expansive space made our attempts at polite conversation fairly futile, just sharing a meal all together hit the spot.  Our paths parted after dinner as Zachary rejoined his dorm activities and the four of us made a visit to the Grotto in time to pray the sorrowful mysteries with the faithful crowd which assembles there every night at 6:45. 
Joseph, Peter and Tim light a candle and pray for Zachary at Notre Dame's Grotto.
Back at our hotel, Joseph and Peter wasted no time getting to the pool for their evening exercise.  We enjoyed visiting with other parents of Notre Dame freshmen gathered at the Jacuzzi after a long move-in day.  One couple was delivering the youngest of their three sons into university life; one brought the middle son of three boys; and we, the oldest son of our three.  A lively conversation ensued and once again, it seemed as if every little detail of this day had been prearranged for our benefit

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