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I was looking at one of my old scrap books from college. And I was just so YOUNG. With such large hair.

3 1/2 year old Dylan pointed to a picture of me from sophomore year.

Dylan: Who’s that?

Me: That’s me.

Dylan: But you don’t look like a mommy. (I guess mommy’s don’t have power bangs). Where am I?

Me: You weren’t born yet.

Dylan: I was a baby?

Me: No. Not a baby. Not even a little sparkle. (How could I have ever imagined such a creative, beautiful, frustrating, sweet spirit with golden curls was headed my way?)

I wish I could go back there. To those moments in the pictures. I want to laugh with my college friends. I want to have a crush on some guy in economics class and then find out he likes me too.

I want to be more gentle with other people’s hearts. I want to make some of the same choices and some different ones too.

My life is soooooooo completely different now.

Take the Academy Awards. I am a sucker for these shows. I get all caught up like somebody is going to give me a gold naked statuette to honor all my hard labor. I’ve twice been nominated for best multiple loads of laundry in one single night, but always lose out to this chick Meryl somebody.

So I’m trying to watch the preshow red carpet gabfest. I like to survey the gowns and cringe at the awkward interviews.

Poor Felicity (well, that’s what I still call her) was asked why kids should study math (a taped question from a young viewer). Keri Russell simply mustered up a, “It’s important for kids to go to school.” Yeah, right. Unless you can make millions as a celeb. Then who needs math? Just hire a money manager.

But my runway show was temporarily interrupted for a viewing of, “Elmo’s World.”

Turns out Elmo, like many of the stars, was also wearing red. He looked good, although I would have loved to have seen his matted hair in a sleek ponytail.

Once the kiddos were tucked in and re-tucked, I could really focus on Oscar and his 80 years. But it’s hard to root for your fave flick when you really haven’t seen any of them. Plus, with no friends over, the Oscar pool was a bit on the paltry side. Rick always wins the pot anyway so I just handed him 10 bucks.

But earlier that evening, Rick and I took our kids to Tortilla Flats, a Mexican restaurant down the block. Every weekend, this place is bachelor party central, but at 6 pm on a Sunday night, it’s pretty mellow.

The girls were incredibly content, groovin’ to the music and eating copious amounts of tortilla chips. Rick and I were talking and laughing and connecting.

This moment. This is what I always wanted. All along.

As a 19 year-old college student, I dreamed that someday, I would meet this guy, who just somehow was right for me. We would have a family and we would be happy. Not all the time. But a good chunk of the time.

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d ever get to this place. But I hoped. I dreamed.

So as I sat there at this Mexican restaurant eating my enchiladas verde, I realized that it had indeed all come true. This is happy, I thought. This is definitely happy.

So why do I want to go back and be that 19 year-old again? I guess because there was so much ahead of me. Of course, there still is. I only have to witness my 65 year-old mother, who is going back to school this summer to earn a Master’s in Social Work, to remember that.

But in my life, choices have definitely been made. Roads have been taken. And although I wouldn’t give up my current life for anything, there are moments sometimes when I long to be at the beginning of the story.

mama bird notes

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26 Responses to the beginning

  • Abby Siegel says:

    My dear Kelcey-

    It's a post like this that makes me cry and remember all the while why you and I are such dear friends. Keep dreaming girl! And don't forget to invite me over to watch the Oscars, Grammys, and even the Emmys. Was I not enough fun watching Superbad? I'd have critiqued every last dress and let you even accepted your own Oscar for Best Friend. I loved you then and I love you now, but I only want to go back to being 19 so we can do just one more Mardi Gras! With no boobs showing, of course. Poor Dylan-she has no idea that all that was on our (well, mine) minds back then was eating as much crawfish as humanly possible!

  • Jacki says:

    I could have written this post! Thinking back, my life is so totally different from what I imagined it would be when I was a 19-year old college student. But I wouldn't trade it in for anything.

  • Youth is wasted on the young, isn't it? And one of the things we're not told when we're young (or maybe we just didn't listen) is that doing or being one thing means you're not doing or being something else. But you have to choose, or you end up with nothing.

  • wa says:

    Wonderful post. I can really relate–I've always been a little "the grass is always greener" type of person.

    And I'm stealing "power bangs".

  • And think I must have been nominated too but for Best Diaper Changer and Supporting Snack Maker…Are spit up covered tee's all the hype on the red carpet? I don't know because I missed it due to noodle dinner clean up and bath time…

    Beautiful post….You echo my thoughts exactly.

  • Gretchen says:

    I too have been looking back quite a bit lately. I found myself pining for old badboy boyfriends and conversations about existentialism…But then I realize that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now. Watching Yo Gabba Gabba and being hangover free is wonderful.

    Oh, and I actually teared up when Oscar for best song went to Once.

  • JoLynn says:

    Wow!!! You couldn't have worded it any better!!! I heart this post!!! Just the other day I was wittnessing first love watching my 17 year old with his girlfriend and remembering how deep those feeling's go and how I will never forget him (my first love) for as long as I live. (A "Titanic" moment-from the Oscar's!)

  • Jordana says:

    I so relate! It's definitely bittersweet thinking back to the college and high school days (speaking of which – we have our 20 year reunion coming up!!). I know Abby will be there!!

  • Tully's Mama says:

    Splendid. Just splendid. I think you've read the minds of over half us mamas out here. Oscars – I loved it. Mainly because I watched them commercial-free AFTER my daughter was asleep. Hubby and I enjoyed them together but he was very concerned about my vast knowledge on every dress, presenter, song, movie and I hadn't even seen one film. See, I told you have a problem. I loved hearing about your restaurant experience – it is so important we have moments like that but more so that you recognized it.

  • Oh, yes. Spot on.

    I had a restaurant moment like that on Sat. night. I never believed my kids would be old enough to amuse themselves at a restaurant enough so that my husband and I could just talk through the whole dinner.

    It was bliss. Better than attending the Oscars, even.

    Well, maybe not THAT good, but still.

  • mp says:

    What an AWESOME post.. When my stepson looks at old pictures of me he freaks how much I look the same but "so young"..

    I REALLY wish I could have at least a decade back…BUT..if I hadn't made those mistakes would I still be where I am today? I don't think so.

  • Milena says:

    Lately I find myself arriving at great posts like this when everything great has already been said. I can only second the 13 comments prior to mine and add that a longing for the past doesn't in any way detract from how grateful we are to have this, our present time. Beautiful post.

  • ke says:

    That's beautiful Kelce. I loved it. especially when you say — Rick and i were talking and laughing and connecting — so well stated — the use of the word "and" between each verb really captures the beauty of the moment and makes it feel very real to the reader.

  • Kristen says:

    I would love to spend a few hours or a day with you and our college friends! I too love the way our lives have evolved. Miss you!

  • Aunt Marcia says:

    You're a beautiful writer Kelcey…you might have a new career coming up if you can keep the dribble off the printer. Do you write a column for a newspaper yet? Not much money in it; but lots of feedback.

  • Aunt Marcia says:

    P.S. I know all of your credentials, education and work experience…related to writing…but I still had to let you know you are a GOOD WRITER; and I enjoy reading your stuff. Maybe you're channeling Irma Bombeck through your web site.

  • Erin says:

    oh….Tortilla Flats…made me smile. remember "my feet are hot"? ..seems like a million years ago but it was only 3.

    and you are at the beginning of your story…the NEXT story :-}

  • Jennifer says:

    This was beautiful. (And in the I-wish-I'd-written-this category.)

    There are all kinds of happiness, but the moment you describes sounds just about perfect. I'm glad you were able to recognize it.

  • Ilene says:

    Sounds like you have this whole thing figured out. Remember all those wonderful memories often, but be sure to celebrate and really LIVE every moment of the present. So quickly they will be more beautiful memories, don't miss out on one of them!!!! Love you.

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kelcey kintner