My Life of What Ifs

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Lifetime Ago

Yesterday I returned to my Alma Mater with my husband and two daughters.  It seems a lifetime has passed since I roamed the grounds at Central Michigan University.  It's surreal that I even lived there for three years, it's as if I watched it all on TV and it was all the adventures of someone else.

Much is the same about CMU.  Yes, there are a few new stores, and yes there is a Starbucks.  I sniffed it out :)  But many of the old familiar haunts are no longer there, starting with the two apartment buildings I inhabited. 

When I returned to college in January 1994 I lived in an on-campus apartment.  I was free of the dorms but I was still on-campus.  So my rent came out of my financial aid, all other utilities were included and I could walk to class if my car took a crap.  The first of those two apartments was torn down after I lived in it (ha ha, shut up) to make room for a new music building.  The second apartment I lived in for two years, and it has since been removed to make room for a library expansion.  It's hard to point to a parking lot and explain to your 10 and six-year-old daughters "that's where Mommy lived".

We also drove by Robinson Hall where I spent the Fall of 1992 missing my boyfriend and working hard on that 1.29 grade point average. "I want to see where you slept,"  Jayden said.  Well honey, I'm thinking the teenage girl or boy who now lives in that room won't appreciate me showing up with my grouchy husband and two kids to take a look around the 12 X 12 space.  So no, wave to the building we're moving on...

Sundays were always quiet in Mt. Pleasant.  The campus is a hungover ghost town and not much is going on.  We were there for the CMU Girls Soccer game, and our girls, along with their teammates got to spend half time on a college soccer field.  They loved it.  I loved it.  The air was crisp, the sun intermittent, and I found myself hoping that one of my girls follows her Mom and becomes a Chippewa herself.  Hopefully one with a scholarship.  It was a new feeling for me, the pride of passing on a legacy to my kids.  And joy for sharing my pre-them life with them.  Of course I didn't point out the store where I bought the 3 for $5 forties, or the bar where I got smashed on my 22nd birthday and how I may not have been their Mom if I hadn't found a different ride home that night.  But I did show them Moore Hall, my second home at college.  It's a good thing that building can't talk, and I did show them where their Dad would take me to dinner when he would come to visit. 

Then as we contemplated having Pixie for dinner, or perhaps Taco Boy, my girls fell asleep in the back seat of the car and we decided to head on home.  Someday they will understand it more, and someday I will own it more and realize that all those good times were mine.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Music Memory Monday

A nice memory for one week before our wedding anniversary.

Not Enough Time

Welcome to Wherever You AreIn the Fall of 1992 I transferred from the community college in my hometown to Central Michigan University.

It was a rough time for me. I was homesick. I was in a new town, with roommates I didn't know, I transferred jobs, and my boyfriend of 6 months was at home.

I hadn't planned on "taking" a boyfriend to school with me.  In fact I broke up with my boyfriend of two years earlier that year for just that reason. Well, that and things weren't going so well. But a month after the breakup I started dating a guy I worked with.  He was funny, a smart-ass, and he had great dimples.  It wasn't supposed to go anywhere.  He was just supposed to be someone to hang out with, but after a few months of casually dating it dawned on us both that there was more going on than we had planned.

I worked at a local retail chain and had transferred to the store in Mt. Pleasant when the school year started.  Despite my seniority I was working every weekend and couldn't make it home much.  The boyfriend had some weekends off and would come see me when he could.  Before I left I created the customary mix tape for him to play and think of me.  It was filled with songs we had enjoyed during our few months together, and being who I am I also left him some typed out lyrics of a few of the more meaningful songs.

About six weeks into the semester I wasn't doing so well.  I missed him so much and I was doing poorly in school.  I hated working and was pretty much in a funk all the time.  My boyfriend made plans to come up for a Sunday and spend the day with me.  We hung out, went to dinner, and as night fell it was time for him to drive the 105 miles back home.  Just before he left he handed me a letter size envelope.  It was thick and obviously had something hard inside.  He told me I couldn't open it until I returned to my dorm room.

When I got back to my room I tore it open to find a cassette single of INXS' Not Enough Time and he had written out the lyrics on notebook paper.  I dissolved into tears as I read the lyrics Not enough time for all that I want for you, not enough time for every kiss, not enough time for all my love, not enough time for every touch.

I called his house immediately and left a message so he would call me back when he got home.  It was truly the most romantic thing he had ever done and it was torture to have to wait to talk to him.  It's funny how important this moment is in my life and yet when it came time to pick out our wedding song, it never occurred to me to use this.  Sometimes I think that no matter how perfect it would have been, I just didn't want to share the story. It's something that I needed to keep protected, until now.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Emotional Baggage

I've often wanted to send my own postcard to PostSecret, but often think my own secrets would pale in comparison to the ones I have obsessed over.  I keep a file of my favorite PostSecrets on my laptop, and when I feel a connection to one I usually post it here. 

But there are a few that I love that never really fit into a category.  Maybe I don't identify with them personally.  Maybe I do?  But they speak to my heart in a way that only I, and maybe a few people on this Earth who really know me, understand.

Friday afternoon I was overcome with emotion in the parking lot at Barnes & Noble.  My heart felt heavy and I had a 'moment'.  I was happy that I am blessed enough to be at a Barnes & Noble on a Friday afternoon.  I was reflective of the last 22 months and what they have meant to me personally, mentally, psychologically, and so on.  And I was saddened by a number of what ifs.  I sat there for a moment and stared at nothing.  I wondered, for the infinite time, what I was doing?  Who am I really?  Is this what I was meant for, and to do?  Am I where I am supposed to be?

All are million dollar questions.  So I pulled myself together and walked into the store.  I found peace in the pages, and I find peace in these secrets.  Some of which I could have written myself, or perhaps they were written about me?