I had to drop my son of at his part-time job early this morning, at least early to someone who had been up until 2:00 AM reading. Yawn... I decided to stop for coffee before heading home, taking a forty-five minute mental vacation at one of my favorite locations on the planet...Einstein's Bagels near the University. In the back seat of my car were two reading materials to choose from, one is being used as a devotional, the other was the latest issue of Books and Culture. The choice was easy, for the latter fit in with the Einstein's crowd (although I've seen many a Bible study meeting at the long table in the back of the store through the years).
It's Spring Vacation at the University so there were only a few tables taken already, far different than the normal crowd of humanity one finds when all students are on campus. I went into the ladies' room to take my insulin, came back to choose a coffeecake for my snack and chatted with the girls behind the counter at the difference in the town when many of the 35,000 students have left. I like it, they are bored (which is understandable). I am given a small cup for my coffee and mix equal parts of hazelnut and medium roast, Splenda, and cream for my first cup.
It is easy to find a table big enough to give the magazine the room it deserves (for it is a large newspaper style magazine). The combination of great writing, delicious coffee and forbidden fruit (well, I DID take more insulin to make up for the increased carbs) was what I'd hoped...a small vacation in the midst of familiar surroundings.
I read for awhile and then sipped my coffee while looking out the window. Thinking about the University and the many roles it has played in my life, and I to it. For I have viewed the town-within-a-town as a student, a wife of a graduate student, a mother of an undergrad student, the mother-in-law of a PhD candidate, and now the mother of a high school student who is making preparations to someday study at the same place of higher learning.
There are times I wish I could go back to the old days when John Denver was number one on the radio, our friends were closer than family, debate was welcome, and knowledge was soaked up as a sponge. I know it is a good thing to gain the wisdom that comes with the years and the discernment of age. However, sometimes...once in awhile...I am rather jealous of the young me. There was so much hope and anticipation in my younger self.
Life has a way of leaving you bruised and scarred. You know that which could never happen to you...can. The life you thought would come about...didn't. The very people that brought the greatest joy could also bring you fatigue and discouragement. Even if every dream was fulfilled, the reality of everyday living can be exhausting.
Yet, by the time I was refilling my cup with decaf to take home with me, my thoughts were returning to the reality of Today. As I drove away from the University and its' diverse group of students and faculty, passed the neighborhood where I had lived in the 90s as the mother of a little son and a college student daughter, into the country with the barns and fields and John Deere tractors, to the edge of the forest...I was ready to once again be the older Wife, Mom, Grammie.
I never want to go back and relive those years but for forty-five minutes, I can revisit them...taking back the best they had to offer. So I'm putting a John Denver CD in the CD player and reading more of a magazine which makes me think while dinner is in the Crock Pot and laundry is in the washing machine...life goes on.