Last week I was reading a mediocre book about kids in college and every time I put the book down I've was obsessed with thinking back to my time at college. And I'm emotional and sensory, so when I go there, I really transport myself there.
I can see the narrow hallway leading to my dorm room, #340 Freduenberger Hall. I am independant. Excited. Alive. It smells like school and library and perfume and life.
It's was so perfect.
I mean really.
It was just me, taking care of me. Everything I ever needed was right there. Everyone was my own age. Everyone was a fresh start somewhere new with many someone news. Making friends was as easy as knocking on your neighbors door to bum a cigarette. Campus was its own contained aquarium; gym, library, medical center, snack shops, cafeterias. With unlimited ice cream cones and French fries.
I got to learn about EVERYTHING. Small group communication and creative writing and acting for the beginner and bowling and micro economics. I took a crazy array of classes. And learning is my favorite thing in the world. Libraries are my favorite thing in the world too. The smell is intoxicating.
I had so much ahead of me- the whole wide world really. First love and first sex and first job and getting married and having babies. I was a gigantic thick book with so many blank pages.
And I kept having those painfully thick nostalgic thoughts until I finished the darn book and finally shelved it. I had to pull myself back to my reality. Where my learning comes from LIFE, not an hour long class I can skip if I feel like it. And not everyone is up to making new friends- at my age, people often already have all the friends they want. People don't really put themselves out there. There is no cafeteria. No gym. No library- all within walking distance. The world is not laid out before me, I have to go get the world. And with the shedding of amenities also comes an array of steel clad responsibility.
My two and a half year old niece Maggie and four year old nephew Levi came to town last week. It had been almost two years since I had last seen them.
They grew up so much- and I was amazed and proud and sad to see hey are their very own little self-contained people. Their first day here their voices tinged my ears with a strange mix of 100-watt joy and sadness. I felt guilty for imaging that sound coming from my own children. Guilty for aching to hear Greyson and Parker make requests for pancakes or juice. Imaging them making awesome and funny observances in the way that only little kids can. Wishing they would accost me with random hugs and kisses and look at me like I was the most amazing girl in the world.
Aunt Chrissy, you are the best aunt Chrissy in the world, Levi told me at least once a day while I simply GLOWED (I am so sorry to all you other Aunt Chrissys out there).
And a few days in I realized something. For the love of Pete, kids that can talk are EXHAUSTING y'all. EXHAUSTING I tell you. I'm so SO sorry I didn't look at it from your angle Moms. I want a waffle! No- now I want egg in a hole. Can I have milk please? NO!!! I want juice, I don't want milk. What did you do with my milk? I want it now. Can we go outside? I want to ride in your car. Why can't I ride in your car? Will you take me in the pool? I wanted sprinkles on my ice cream. Why is that man sitting there? Can I sleep in your bed? Can I have some of your ice cream? Will you throw me up in the air? Why do you smell like chocolate? I don't want to eat my carrots...
And of course of course of course in the perfect Universe I would want my boys to talk- mostly for their sake but also for me. BUT- there are some darn good parts about the silence. Parts I haven't been taking for granted lately.
And it made me rethink my feelings about college.
It's was so perfect.
I mean really.
Here's the thing - I mostly never felt like ANY of that then. Leaving home and going away to school was awful scary. Exciting-yes. But scary. And it was all too new all at once. I needed some familiars thrown in there to remember who I was. I never had any money. And I didn't have a car. And I worked full time at a bar and often didn't get home til midnight and had to get up for class early the next morning. And I had a really tumultuous relationship. I focused completely on him instead of my friends for most of my college experience. I missed out on so much. It was hard. And my ass.
It got so BIG on those bottomless French fries and ice cream. (My friends Kim and Kristen and our RA. I'm on the right. Yer welcome for posting this.)
Maybe everything wasn't perfect then. And it's not perfect now either. It's never going to be perfect, and it's never even going to be good if I live in another time or another place. I want to live in my imperfect life right now, and be awake enough to recognize all the beauty that it already holds.
And I started to feel that tug of time this evening at the Farmer's Market. I started to ache for the ending of Summer, the beginning of the school year, getting dark earlier. Everything made me sad. And I remembered- everything about this moment is perfect, and you are screwing it up right now.
So I focused on the right now.
We soaked up the colors and produce. Here are some beautiful local figs.
We listened to live music.
And rode this motor cycle eleventy hundred times. Sometimes when I'm putting the quarters in I tell Grey- You can either continue to ride this motor cycle at this pace or go to Harvard for college. Which do you choose? He just looks at me like- Put the damn quarter in lady.
We took Best Friend pictures, because we are
And made wishes... Let me always realize that I have everything I need in this exact moment I am in.
And danced under white twinkle lights.
And it actually was perfect and easy. For now. For real.