Yesterday, I had a rare chance at two and a half hours alone in the middle of a weekday. Actually, it’s not rare. I get it every Thursday afternoon, but I usually sit at the farm and write (in the blistering heat) while my kids have horseback riding lessons.
Alone time doesn’t feel luxurious when your constantly swatting at flies who are swarming to the sweat pouring down your neck.
So this week I took the opportunity to run some errands (I know. Glamorous, right?). We needed a couple things for dinner and I needed coffee. I ran my errands and still had about an hour before the kids were done so I stopped in a quaint little coffee shop. I was in a college town and the place was filled with young twenty-somethings all decked out in leggings and long sweaters with their laptops and earbuds. Each one had a notebook, pen, and coffee mug next to their computer.
Enter college envy. Oh, to be young and be expected to learn. Likes it’s your job. To have to sit and read and write for hours. To need to go to the library. I drove back to the farm (with an amazing cappuccino in hand) feeling very old and fighting back tears for what I had missed out on.
I dropped out of college after two years because I had our first baby (and also, I couldn’t decide what to major in. I wanted to learn ALL THE THINGS). And I’ve never gone back. And until yesterday in that coffee shop, I never knew how much I wish I could’ve finished.
You see, I’m a big, fat nerd. I’ve even got the big nerd glasses to prove it. I love books and paper and new ideas and new information. I love lining equations up and working them out. I love writing papers and doing research and taking notes. I get so excited when I learn something I didn’t know. There are so many cool and interesting facts to learn and ideas to ponder! I’m getting excited just thinking about it.
But if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. While I could never decide what to major in during college, I always knew “mom” was the title I craved the most.
I dreamed of spending days lost to snuggles and laughter and learning and playing. I still do. And I’m living that dream now as my son curls next to me with his pile of books. I wanted to carry a baby in my body, bring him into the world, and walk him to adulthood, marveling in the growth and changes it takes to turn one tiny human into an adult capable of making a difference in the world.
We can look back on the past and dream about what might have been. We can also look back and smile because of what actually is.
This is important. This is where I belong. This is who I am.