This past weekend the weather was lovely and we were all itching to get out of the house. We live close to where we went to college, so we loaded up the car and headed down to spend some time on the quad. We didn’t realize until we arrived that it was freshmen move-in day.
Immediately I was hit with an overwhelming wave of nostalgia. As I sat on a blanket with my little family, I realized that exactly 10 years ago that weekend, I was one of those freshmen, wandering the quad with a map and an air of confidence masking what was really nerves and fear.
I started to blow bubbles for Owen and thought about how quickly time goes by. A group of girls in very little shorts and very strappy tank tops walked by us in a giggly mass and I realized that, whoa. That’s me — a decade ago. I wanted to stop those girls and say hey, breathe it in. Remember it. Slow down. (And also? Don’t drink punch out of a bucket on the floor at your first ever frat party tonight. Just a heads up from me to you.) Before you know it, it will be you sitting here, looking at the former you, and reminiscing.
No, I wouldn’t change it. Not any of it. I wouldn’t go back. How could I, when it’s all so good?
We had Kodiak with us too, and he tends to draw a lot of attention. A couple wandered over to us asking to pet him, and we got to taking. They cooed over Owen and told us they just dropped their son off at his dorm for the first time. It goes so quickly, they said. I mentioned how it feels like just yesterday that Michael and I were walking across this quad together hand-in-hand on our way to classes, and now here we are with our child. We met here 10 years ago, I told them.
We met here too, they said. Thirty-three years ago and counting. It really does come full circle, they told us.
The nostalgia isn’t sad, it’s comforting. To know that some things will never change, even when everything else does. There will always be a girl on the quad blowing bubbles, spinning around, hair on her shoulders, skirt twirling in the breeze. (That girl lives on every campus after all, does she not?) Only this weekend, I blew the bubbles instead.
One day it will be us dropping our son off on his first day of college. Maybe even on this very campus. And then one day, it will be his turn to let his little birdie fly from the nest.
I hope that giggly group of girls have memories like this one day. I hope they come back to that very quad and remember.
I hope they didn’t drink the punch.