Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where were you 5 years ago?

It’s funny to think about what can happen in 5 years: how different your life can be, or even how much can be the same. Whenever someone asks the quintessential question – where do you want to be in 5 years – I think about how short 5 years may feel but how much can happen in that time.

When we took a family vacation with Sean’s family over New Year’s this year, we sat around the living room of our house in Manhattan Beach one afternoon talking about where we’d be in 10 years. Us kids married, with kids of our own, working in our dream jobs. Some very realistic goals, and some lofty ones. It was fun and exciting to try and picture ourselves so far down the road, but also strange to imagine life any differently than it is right now.

Seeing how fast the last 5 years of my life have gone, I can hardly imagine I’ll accomplish all my lofty goals in twice that time, but certainly we can try!

But I digress. I actually started this post for a reason. I was remembering today where I was 5 years ago, and let me tell you, I was not a happy camper.

Five years ago today, Sean left for college, two and a half hours away! It doesn’t seem like much, especially compared to the 6+ hours away his younger brother is now, but at the time, we might as well have been an ocean apart.

We hadn’t even been dating a year, but I spent the entire summer leading up to it physically sick at the thought of him leaving. I remember on several occasions dropping him off at home after a night out with friends and bursting into pathetic sobs because we were another day closer to him leaving. D-R-A-M-A. Might as well be my middle name. (Funny how this is the second post and the second story that involves me crying more than I should.)

I wanted to be there to drop him off, but was worried about driving the two and a half hours home with his family when I knew I’d barely be able to compose myself. I fought for driving on my own, giving me time to say goodbye and cry alone the whole way home, but thankfully his mom insisted I ride with them. Good thing I listened!

We arrived mid-morning and hauled his things up the three flights to the room he was sharing with his high school friend. We unpacked, reorganized, and made the typical first-day-of-college trips—to Target, the bookstore, the family BBQ on campus. I held it together pretty well. By the time we were saying our goodbyes in the parking lot of his dorm, I was overwhelmed. We took some photos and his family said their goodbyes first.

Adorable picture - but his middle brother wasn't there and his youngest brother looks so different now I can hardly stand it. Even Sean looks younger. I will not be sharing the photo of the two of us from that day. All I can think of when I look at it is the quote from Home Alone: "Buzz's girlfriend...woof!" Let's just say better late than never but I've worked very hard in the last year to not look like that anymore!

Anyway, Sean's family was so sweet. They went to the car to allow Sean and I some time to say goodbye. That’s when I lost it. He refuses to admit it, but I remember clearly that he started to tear up and said he wasn’t sure he was ready to be there yet. I cried. Told him I knew he’d be great. He’d have lots of fun. And it helped that he knew quite a few people at UMD. Before our final hug, he told me he loved me for the first time. A complete bittersweet moment, since I was devastated to be leaving him but thrilled to hear him say those words (especially since I had already said them weeks before, hah!).

So we hopped back in the minivan and made our way back to St. Paul. Sean’s mom sat in back with me, both of us sharing a box of tissues and crying quietly. When I got home I went straight to my bed and cried. My mom came in a little later and convinced me to get up and go with her to visit my cousin Andrew, his girlfriend Melissa, and their brand-new baby boy at the hospital. Happy birthday Taylor! He’s part of the reason I’ll always remember the day Sean left for college.

Crazy to think of what has changed, what’s remained the same, and what we’ve gotten through together since that day 5 years ago. If you had asked me on that day where I’d be in 5 years, I don’t know if this – this life – would be my answer. So much of it is unpredictable. We've had a lot of fun, a lot of memories, in these last 5 years. There are plenty of sad times I would change in a heartbeat if I could, but we made it. Here we are 5 years later and we’ve come a long way. And I couldn’t be happier.

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