Heading back to campus (with the kids) was great! ©We Are Both Right
It was just like old times.
Me and Amanda hanging out in the parking lot across the road from our college dorm. Watching the crowd gather for the football game. Glancing through the latest edition of the college newspaper. Planning our next set of stories. Gossiping. Wondering what the guys were scheming up now as they headed toward the tackling dummies. Wiping glitter and asphalt off our children’s knees (now, not then).
If our lives were a sitcom, this was the week of the retrospective episode. Taking it back to where it all began. Homecoming weekend at college.
Like a new show on TV, it would have been all too predictable to start our story, well, at the beginning. So one year into this blog and sooooomany years after we first met at college orientation, Amanda and I are finally getting around to sharing a flashback or two to put it all in perspective.
Let’s just say that homecoming isn’t quite the same as it was when we first stepped foot on our college campus 19 years ago (yikes). Actually it’s so much better.
Those new boyfriends we had back then. Husbands now. Great cooks to boot. Still doing crazy things that make us laugh and sigh at the same time. And did we mention they are great cooks? We’re talking winning-a-throw-down-with-Bobby Flay-great.
On Saturday, they were proud of themselves for having the culinary skills to wow everyone who walked by — from alumni to giggling co-eds. But there was a little bit of regret hanging in the air (on their part) for not having figured out two decades ago that the secret to life (and girls) is as simple as paella and skirt steak sliders on a grill in the parking lot. Hee hee. Amanda and I were happy to sit back and toast our luck with bottles of beer coolers.
We could see the college kids at their tailgate table which was lined with green and yellow plastic cups, and three layers deep of bottles of alcohol, while we inhaled the scents of saffron and caramelized onions.
Our own kids were entertaining themselves (!) and each other riding scooters and doing their version of preschool in a parking lot, thanks to some paper lunch bags and glitter glue that our friend Christine brought. The older boys went roaming around campus in search of a lawn to play football and came back with a broken umbrella handle, fashioned into a kicking tee (A+ for innovation). Right before kickoff, a walk over to the free carnival afforded the little ones their first ride on a ferris wheel and the three oldest their first falls off a mechanical bull.
The rest of us were content to sit in between our loaded-to-the-brim minivans, talking about how we still “had” it. And how we didn’t.
Case in point: John went up to one of the student club tables set up outside the football field, where three of the current editors of the school paper were looking for people to join. “We’ll sign up,” he said, pointing to himself, Amanda and me. Maybe it was the kids swarming around our knees that gave us away, but they looked doubtful. Then when he launched into a “back when we were editors, almost 20 years ago…” their eyes glazed over. I bumped John’s elbow and said, “Time to go, we’re looking like old folk.”
But those were the days. Late nights in production at the paper, which coincidentally resulted in six marriages among staff. (Somehow I managed to never be at one of those all-nighters — sorry Amanda — but my 4 p.m. deadline for the features section let me preserve my work-life balance even back then.) Then there were the parties in our dorm — where I first met my husband and supposedly gave Amanda her first wine cooler too many. The walks on the roof. And the 90210 viewing parties in Amanda’s room.
Considering that none of us had actually planned to go to this college, but for reasons including parents reluctant to part with their firstborns and the lure of a full scholarship, we all ended up there. And now looking back, we’re really glad that we did.