Disclaimer!!! If details, nostalgia, and lengthy blogposts are not your cup of tea, I beg of you...close out of this now. Hehe.
I remember distinctly a phone conversation I had with my dad while in college. Exams were looming, and stakes were high. I was stressed. I missed being home, in Texas, with my family, my boyfriend, my friends...essentially, my comfort zone. I missed being home...where I'd grown up, surrounded by people who knew and loved me. Where good grades came effortlessly, and I felt like I really was somebody on Friday nights in a maroon satin-fringe detailed drill team uniform.
And it was in that moment, my dad gave me advice that I would reference for the rest of my life.
"College is like a camping trip. In the moment, you're swatting at mosquitoes, you're either burning up desperate for a cool breeze, or freezing your ass off, trying to stay warm as you shiver in your sleeping bag. Setting up the tent is frustrating. Starting a fire is always harder than you think. But when you look back and think about your camping trips, you remember roasting hot dogs, making s'mores, and seeing kumbaya around the fire. You remember star-gazing, and the smell of campfire mixed with Off bugspray, and you get this warm fuzzy feeling."
I'm paraphrasing, but the message remains the same.
“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”
― Marcel Proust
― Marcel Proust
What I realize now, and what I really got ever since he imparted that wisdom on me...is that all of life is like a camping trip.
I think that is why despite sleepless nights with a baby, I've been so happy. And despite some really passionate fights with my husband, I've been in newlywed bliss. Because at this point in my life, I'm nostalgic for the now. It's as though I am so aware that I will miss this time, I feel it slipping through my fingers, and I just want to savor it. So yes, there are metaphorical mosquitoes that I'm constantly swatting...but I'm focusing my attention on the moments that I know will become memories I will one day wish I could revisit.
“The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.” ― Milan Kundera, Ignorance
I am so grateful for the memories I have. When I think about my childhood, the first friend, and longest friendship I have to date, comes to mind...my sister.
|The ADORABLE Laura Rose|
I think about playing with puppets, and having Daddy videotape us. I think about playing Barbies ((essentially, by myself, with Bud as my captive audience)). I think about pretending we were witches, and convincing ourselves that we really did make that leaf just move. I think about all of the Halloweens, Thanksgivings, and Christmases that I'm lucky to remember. I remember the family vacations.
I think about "The Game" we played, called, "The Game," where we pretended to be Kristie and Kellie and used nothing but our imagination to describe our fantasy-world. I remember when I was sick of playing "The Game" and killed off my main character. I'm sure it broke my sister's heart. Hehe. I remember sitting in neon colored, inflatable chairs, playing Mario on the N64. I remember swimming in our pool, trying to dive ((I've never mastered it, and I don't think she did either!)), and being official members in the Polar Bear Club, where we braved the cold pool water before the summertime. Oh, I remember the summers. I love thinking about those long summer days, where we literally had no worries or cares, just the day at hand. Hearing songs like "The Desert Misses the Rain" and "Follow You Down" immediately bring memories of being outside in our childhood home. I feel SO lucky that we lived under the same roof last summer, and had one last summer memory together. The summer of 2013 was one not to be forgotten. The summer where I became a mama, and she embarked on her last year of grad school. Nights included Orange Is The New Black and United States of Tara Netflix binging, whenever Lilah Grace slept. I also remember a summer morning stroll...turning the corner, seeing the empty community pool, and spontaneously jumping in with our clothes on.
"A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost."
-Marion C. Garretty
Reminiscing on my childhood, I also can't help but think about playing "Oregon Trail" with one of my best friends, Ashley, and her labrador retrievers...and a red wagon ((err, covered wagon))...making the trek across her humongous backyard, which had an amazing garden, playhouse, fort, and pool. I also remember "camping out" in both a tent, and her fort, just guessing what time it was (probably thinking it was 2 AM and only being 11 or so...). I remember "Indian Princess" with my friends and our dads, including different crafts and even camping trips.
|I wish I had a better picture...this is the only one on my computer. My friend Ashley, me, Kristen, and Erin. The Roaring River tribe. Hehe.|
I remember slumber parties with Barbies that eventually turned into slumber parties with Truth or Dare. I distinctly remember making disgusting concoctions in various friends' kitchens at midnight, and daring somebody to drink it, while the rest of us laughed until we cried. I remember when they built the recreation center and track right behind her yard, and the opening of that place being so exciting for middle school girls. Especially the hot guy that checked us in, Brad. We all had one collective, massive crush, on Brad. I remember when each of us started getting that "first kiss" ((not from Brad)) and sharing the juicy details with one another. I remember Sandy Lake band trips and the transition to high school, and I remember that friendship with Ashley starting to naturally fade, as I became closer with the drill team girls, and she became closer with friends from Student Council. I'm sure there were arguments, but I don't remember them. I remember the golden nostalgia.
Fast forward to high school. Where my memories of being a Farmerette definitely stand out. I've already rambled about that in a previous post, so I'll redirect there, and keep this post moving forward...
I'm nostalgic ((again)) about my conservation trip in New Zealand...
And then, of course, college. Where I learned that I'm actually an introvert. I learned a lot in the classrooms, but I learned even more about myself. I made friendships with people on my dorm floor who I otherwise wouldn't have probably connected with. My musical tastes evolved. I finally felt like it was okay to express liberal viewpoints! Ha. I learned to really enjoy spending time with myself. I lost the need to fill my time with people I didn't care about deeply. I realized I much preferred having two, deep and substantial friendships, than many acquaintances. My friendship with Jen remains indescribable. I tried to explain on this blog, but the feelings are so much deeper than my words on a glowing screen.
|"The Magical Cottage"|
|..my best friend..|
Keisha Register Photography.
"The Wallpaper Series"
When I think about Jen, Norman, and OU...I think about the Campus Lodge apartments. I think about her house with the underground storm shelter, and my cottage. I think about both of us breaking the rules in Pi Phi with pups we couldn't resist having. I think about date parties...both at Pi Phi and DU. I think about her then-boyfriend-now-husband-and-baby-daddy, Jason, and our late friend, John. And as I feel the nostalgia, thinking about the snow days, where we made Christmas cookies, watched specials on Jimi Hendrix, and talked about life-as-we-knew-it...I tear up. Because so much of my college nostalgia included John, and I am so sad that he is no longer here. My heart just breaks for his fiancee, son, parents, sister, and of course, Jason and Jen. And his other DU roommates and best friends. I think about the past, and my heart feels an ache knowing he is gone...but they face this heart breaking, tragic loss on a daily basis, and have to re-learn how to live without his presence every single day. My love goes out to them all.
I realize now more than ever, I will look back on these days, and think of them as "the good ol days." The newlywed phase, the new-baby phase. The our-first-home-phase. I want to soak in the now and just replay it, over and over and over and over and over.
So even though our mortgage went up an extra $70/month...and even though we are swimming in medical bills...I don't wish these days away. We have the rest of our lives to worry. And while my precious baby is sleeping, I know she is growing. Sometimes, we look at her and just acknowledge how she changed overnight. She is turning into SUCH a little toddler! As she gets closer to this first birthday ((May 6th!)), I just want to hold and squeeze her and keep her little forever.