There is something about an increase in responsibility that makes your long for your more carefree days.
I thought initially that was why after Eliza was born, I started to long for my days on the Ohio University campus. College was arguably the most fun four consecutive years of my life, and I had the good fortune of attending the best school in the entire world.
Lately, however, I have noticed more similarities than differences when considering my life now and my life then. They say college is a great way to prepare for your future; perhaps it’s also a training ground for becoming a parent?
For example, I never drank coffee until my college years. I used to love going to this little coffee shop with my books and get mug after mug of some specialty brew. These days, of course, I don’t sip in peace so much as take gulps between diaper changes, but I still have that same feeling of bliss when wafts of those robust roasted beans hit my nose. In both situations, I felt this wonderful escape taking in that first cup.
I truly learned a lot of fundamentals while being away at school. Budgeting time was a huge one, of course, and a necessary skill as a parent. And my laundry-doing abilities hit a major upswing in college. I feel like I could get any stain out of any garment, which translates well to battling spit-up and other less pleasant items.
There are more similarities in the little things, however, that occur in both college and parenting. And it’s those little things that bring back such wonderful memories.
Like, in 2014, there is always at least one pants-less person in my house. I’ll spare you details, but I shared a house with four other girls in college who did not care about closing doors. One in particular. She also found it funny to pants you in public. Just like my son. In related news, I started wearing a belt way more often during college and once Monster learned what he calls “the pants game.”
And now, just like in college, happy hour can be any hour. Remember in college when you HAD to go to the bar because you got an A on a paper/paid the bills on time/noticed the temperature had gone from freezing-cold to barely-tolerable?
Same thing now. My kid uses the potty by himself, I get a glass of wine. My kid misses the potty and goes all over the floor, I get two glasses of wine.
I sometimes wonder if the biggest similarity is actually my inability to appreciate what I have. Looking back now, I wasted so much of my time in college stressing out over relationships or test scores that I forgot to soak in how awesome it was to have the freedom to literally make my future whatever I wanted it to be.
It really isn’t much different now, except I have the ability to help my children make their futures whatever they want them to be. Yet instead of embracing those teachable moments, I get wrapped up in the minutiae of them. As I type, my daughter is reaching for the laptop screen and pulling it forward so I can see her smile. Instead of hopping offline, I pry her tiny fingers away and continue working.
In summation, I suppose the biggest lessons I took from my time at OU are to appreciate the little things and treat yourself to a good cup of coffee. And always, always, wear a belt.