Most memories these days feel like they happened a lifetime ago and then in the next moment, like it was last week. That’s what living on campus in married housing (what?) at Stanford University feels like to me. I hadn’t thought about it in so long, but the news that I have a kid that will be playing volleyball there next year has brought back more than a few thoughts. Mad About You and Seinfeld were mainstays, as was Marie Callendar’s and Mr. Chow’s Chinese food (neither of which I would choose today) and early Sunday morning trips to do laundry when the laundromat wasn’t crowded were my thing. Even though I pretty much hated my job and missed my college life at Cal Poly SLO like crazy, now I look back on those days with nostalgia, because silver linings are even easier to find with the benefit of hindsight. Early morning runs around Lake Lagunita and hikes to the dish are among my favorite memories. Years later, we added to these memories taking the kids to football games as they learned the value that traditions bring to higher education and planted this dream of going to Stanford in Luke’s mind.
When my marriage ended, those friendships I made with people from that era were something that I mourned. It’s just a normal part of moving on, no hard feelings, just the way hers and his relationships work. But the idea that the next generation of my family will create their own memories allows me to build a new relationship with a place that still holds a special place in my heart.
We don’t have to hold tightly to things, relationships, and places in time that were important to us because if they are meant to be in our lives, they will find their way back.
As parents, the experiences of our children are not our own, but they have such an intimate relationship with our own lives. Last night, I saw Luke in person for the first time since he got the call from the coach. As I stood in my driveway and hugged his giant 6’5 inch frame, all the memories connected like magnets on his Thomas the Train sets he played with for hours when he was little. How did we get to this moment? A lot of toughness, patience, learning, hard work, and optimism…and trusting in the infinite wisdom that these values add to life.
The challenges build our strength, but moments like these are what we hang onto to breathe energy into our lives.
Luke I’m so proud of you. You earned every bit of this opportunity and now the test is to double down on the hard work and find joy in the journey. Everything in me tells me you will. Thank you for helping me expand and evolve my relationship with my memories of old and always creating new things that bring so much joy and meaning to this road that looks different, but is still so beautiful. Glad I get to visit you on the west coast.