As a soon-to-be parent of a Yuk, I was thinking back over everything that I’ve learned and experienced during my son’s plebe-year at USMA and how fast it has flown by. As my Cadet likes to say, the days are long but the weeks are short. There were a number of things I remember thinking to myself and maybe even mentioning to my wife, “I wish I had known that, or I wish someone had mentioned this.” So for all of you Parents of the Class of 2016, here are ten things I wish I had known about R-Day. 1. The day before R-Day is a good time to visit the West Point Visitor’s Center and Museum just outside Thayer Gate. It’s a great way to take your mind off the impending unknowns, the museum is amazing, and the gift shop at the Visitor’s Center will have T-Shirts and Hand Bags with the names of the Class of 2016 on them. 2. Say your good-byes the night before R-Day, whatever you need to say, say it before the dawn of R-Day. It’s easier for you and your pre-cadet, not easy, but much easier. 3. After your 90 second good-bye there will be lots of shopping to do in Eisenhower Hall as all the gift shops and many of the clubs will have booths set up there. Shopping therapy is a very good thing at this moment in your lives. 4. The prayer service in the Cadet Chapel is truly awe inspiring. You will need inspiration, I highly recommend you attend. 5. Due to the long distances, travel costs and other family issues there will be many families that can only send one parent to R-Day. Find them and adopt them, no parent should be alone on this day and it’s a really good time to start developing your Plebe-Parent support network. 6. During the parent’s briefing in Eisenhower (IKE) Hall take pictures (without flash) of the Power-Point slides. That way you will have the information for later reference. 7. Take sun-screen and a hat. You will be standing in the sun a lot, especially as you wait for the parade. 8. You are most likely not going to be able to pick out your son or daughter during the parade. They will already have changed so much and they will all look so much alike. Take pictures of them all so later you can spend time trying to find your pre-cadet. It’ll give you something to do as you adjust to the limited communication during Beast. 9. There will be Army-Navy football tickets on sale that day. If you are thinking of going to the game as a chance to spend time with your soon-to-be plebe, forget it. If you are buying tickets to support the Black Knights, well then, GO ARMY! BEAT NAVY! HOOAH! 10. You will find yourself wanting answers to questions like, “Can we plan a visit for Labor Day? Or Columbus Day? Or a particular football game weekend? Or a birthday weekend?” The answer is, “IT DEPENDS.” It depends on the Academic Year Company your Cadet will be assigned to, it depends if when the time comes are they in good standing or marching off hours. It depends on a number of events, circumstances and decisions which have not happened yet so no one, not you, your cadet, the Supe or the Dean can give you an answer on R-Day. So learn to accept, “IT DEPENDS,” and be ready to seize the opportunities you get. Good Luck, you are in for a ride!