As a new college freshman I loved being surrounded by people. I loved having a roommate and suite mates and people all around in my dorm and in the courtyard that was outside our dorm and in the middle of 3 others. It was an awesome thing to always have someone to eat with, watch TV with, walk to class with, study with.
But then one weekend opened my eyes. It was an away game and it seemed to be everyone’s opportunity to get out of town. Friends from other cities and states went home to visit. The campus was empty. And I was alone. For the first time since starting college, I was by myself. And I was so lonely. I missed my family, my friends, and I just felt so alone. I wanted to be surrounded by people. I learned a lot about myself that weekend.
It’s funny how life changes. At this stage in my life a weekend like that sounds pretty blissful. My weekends [and weeks] are full of basically the same thing over and over. Changing diapers, pulling up pull-ups, attempting potty training — again, cleaning up cereal poured by a three year old, cleaning up spilled milk, locking the ice dispenser on the fridge for the 100th time in a day, washing sheets, finding lovies, letting the dogs in and out, sweeping, loading the dishwasher, folding laundry, grocery shopping, park playing, book reading, story telling, listening to the best conversationalist, and kissing the chubby cheeks of my son over and over again. It’s the opposite of that quiet weekend that sticks out in my mind when I think of loneliness. But the thing is, it’s like I’ve gotten what I’ve always wanted and I didn’t even know I wanted it.
I’m living the dream, and I didn’t even know this was my dream.
My life isn’t perfect. It’s not even dreamy. I have less than perfect furniture, a car payment, and so much cleaning that needs to be done. But more seriously than that, I’ve experienced great loss in my life. And yet still, I can’t help thinking how blessed I am. All of those years ago when I felt so lonely I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t even know what I was going to do the next week. I didn’t know that I wanted this life of being a wife and mother. But it’s the greatest part of my life by far. It’s my story — my family, my blessings, my gains, my losses. And it’s so different and so much better than I ever would have imagined my life being when I was 18 years old.
Life is good, bad, hard, easy, monotonous, and crazy — and sometimes all at once! I look back on that time as an 18 year old, and I’m so thankful for the things that have happened since then. Even the bad — it makes me who I am. And I wonder in 10, 20, and 30 years from now, how different my life will be. Will I look back and think about how beautiful these years are with young ones and Cheerios always crunching under my feet? Will I fiercely miss chubby cheeks and Ws that replace Ls in words? Will I be just as blown away when I have a 13 year old, 23 year old, and 33 year old, by the beautiful life we are living as I am today with my 3 year old here by side crawling through my lap as I type this?
My life isn’t how I thought it would look. Nothing has gone according to plan. And it is all so much better because of it.