One recent weekend, for the first time since my oldest child was born eight years ago, my husband watched the children and I had a weekend to myself. I went to Notre Dame. Amazing to me that this is the place I came back to. Not in the way that amazing is surprising, but amazing in a way of admiration. Why do we always come back?
I came back to campus with something I did not take with me when I left, an appreciation for time. I took time and carried it around with me as I wandered campus. I sat down on a bench with it outside the Hurley building and enjoyed its silent company. After my quiet visit, I went on to meet up with friends.
One, a dear friend my senior year. I had not seen him in 20 years. Why did I let him go? If there ever were a reason, I can’t remember it now. I suppose we just got too busy building our lives. What a gift to remember how much I cared about someone I had let go, and what a gift to reconnect with him.
Then I went to see another dear friend I had not seen in years, ending the day with my roommate, Chris, and her family. She and I have remained close since we graduated. Our children are now friends.
A friend of my mother’s once said to her, “You know, our mothers were friends, isn’t that lovely?” And it is isn’t it? To be friends with someone whose mother was your mother’s friend.
Saturday was a day filled with more hugs and more friends and more people I hadn’t seen in years. After a while, Chris and I decided to check out the band and walk over to our old dorm.
We had our picture taken outside Pasquerilla East by two current residents. Chris pointed out to me that when we lived in PE, the women who took our picture weren’t even born yet. Yikes! How did that happen?
But it did happen. As time passed Chris and I were able to count more than 20 years of friendship: families, boyfriends, careers, apartments, condos, weddings, baptisms and the simple comfortable joy of being a part of each other’s daily lives.
After an exciting football game in the cold and the rain, I went back to Chris’ house again and enjoyed a hot shower, a glass of wine and a great night of sleep with no childlike interruptions.
Sunday, driving home thinking I wasn’t ready to come home yet. Surprised at how little I missed my husband and my children. A bit scared that I wasn’t desperately missing them, kind of jumbled up. But once little arms gave big hugs and the house enveloped me, I came home peacefully.
I am grateful for my weekend away and grateful for my life at home. I wonder if this is how my husband feels when he goes off to conquer? Not missing us until he comes home again. Perhaps I should ask him.
Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.