SMC women welcome dads to campus
By NOREEN GILLESPIE
Saint Mary's Editor
Janelle Dombrow felt awfully upset when she ruined her father's 40th birthday.
Admittedly non-athletic, Dombrow entered a bike race. While speeding with all her might toward the finish line, a brake malfunction sent the 11-year-old soaring on to the asphalt, landing her in the emergency room.
"I didn't cry from the pain at all," said Dombrow, who suffered a broken wrist from the accident. "When I did start to cry — the only time I cried over the whole thing at all — was when I realized it was my dad's birthday, and instead of enjoying it, he was spending it in the emergency room."
Her dad, however, didn't seem to mind.
"He kept telling me it was OK," Dombrow said.
This weekend, Dombrow and 179 of her senior classmates will open their campus to their fathers, to remember the scraped knees, broken wrists, school performances, tears, smiles and other milestones that helped them build their relationships.
Among the weekend's events, including Friday night's Casino/Dance Night at Union Station, Saturday's Heartland Tailgate and Sunday's Mass at the Church of Loretto, many of the women look forward to the chance to spend time together with their fathers more than the events. For many of them, it will be one of the last times in their college careers that they have the opportunity to spend a weekend with their father.
"My dad doesn't get out here much," Dombrow said. "It's kind of sad — your dad's the one who gives you away, who watches you grow up. We haven't spent a weekend together in forever. I'm excited about it."
For many Saint Mary's seniors, it is a chance that is much anticipated.
"Senior Dads Weekend is traditionally one of the most anticipated events of senior year," said senior class president Ann Pangilinan. "There's a given tie between a father and a daughter that this weekend celebrates."
The weekend's theme "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" was chosen with the intent of celebrating that bond, said Senior Dads Weekend chairwoman Beth Mayer.
"When we talked about what the theme would be, a lot of us said that we had a t-shirt or a cup or something with that phrase on it when we were little," said Mayer. "We felt it was what we wanted the weekend to be about."
For Dombrow, being "daddy's little girl" often meant learning to stand on her own after following her father's advice.
"My dad has always been there for me, protecting me," she said. "When I was little, it was from the bullies — the big kids down the street."
But as she got older, she learned to turn to her dad for advice.
"I always call my dad when I'm stressed out," she said. "The best advice he ever gave me was to deal with things as they come, and to focus on the moment."
Soon after that phone call, Dombrow received a letter with a picture of herself at a younger age in a ballerina costume.
"My dad told me to remember that moment, that he had always kept that picture with him," she said. "My dad does that. My dad can always focus on the moment."
It is advice that Dombrow will value long after she leaves Saint Mary's, she said.
The weekend gives the chance for the women to let their fathers know that regardless of how old they grow, their dads are still needed, said Mayer.
"I think a lot of the fathers think that now that we're graduating, we won't need them as much," said Mayer. "And for the women who aren't as close with their fathers, this is a chance for them to get to know each other better."
"I know that I'm still going to need him," Dombrow said, choking back tears. "When I look at him on that day [that I graduate] — I just know that I'm going to cry."
All Scene Stories for Wednesday, November 10, 1999