College Thankful

Welcome to Thankful Tuesday on a Thursday. I hope that’s not terribly confusing.

The boys and I get our "guns up" at my Homecoming game. (Yes, those are streamers around August's and my heads.)

I spent the weekend at my college’s Homecoming for my ten-year reunion. Now, let me explain something to you. I did not go to a school known for its academic rigor, though I learned plenty. I didn’t go to a school that anyone has ever heard of, even in Texas, and especially not in the parts of the country I’ve been living in for the past decade.

But I went to the perfect school, the place where I was most able to be myself, where I was most loved and embraced and challenged to think and create. I went to a college that was kind and silly and small and full of music.

I could write something long about the ways that being in a Southern Baptist university brought me to a point of frustration and doubt and discouragement at the state of Christianity in our culture. But I can just as quick recount the rich kindness of my professors, the sweetness of the culture of the students, the safety I felt in that place.

I’ve taken Chris (Mr. Ivy League) to my campus before, but both times it was during the winter break, no students around, buildings locked. This past weekend I was thrilled at what he was going to see: my dearest college friends gathered in one room, my chance to serve as co-emcee for our reunion dinner. My emcee partner, Lex, and I were passionate (and ridiculous) karaokers in our former collegiate life so we made great plans to perform “Reunited” to kick off the class dinner. My husband was more than concerned. Every time I talked about it, he said, “I’m just not sure that’s a good idea,” while his eyes took on the look he saves for wanting to protect me from life’s scariest people. He just knew that when we sang our former classmates would stare back quietly in disgust and horror.

He had no idea that my college experience was a lot more like youth group than like college. His concern was brought up many times and I did my best to alleviate his fears. But I still saw it in his eyes Saturday night…until Lex and I began to sing “Reunited and it feels so good!” There’s something about that place that allows for silliness. It was a wonderful night and my husband was all kinds of relieved.

So, here’s my list. Homecoming weekend thankful:

  • That I now live four hours from where I went to school so I was actually able to be part of my ten-year reunion (which would never have happened otherwise). That Chris got to experience what I’ve been trying to tell him all these years.
  • Staying up until 2 am (what?!) with old friends just talking Friday night. We were so proud of ourselves for our late night craziness.
  • How proud I felt of my friends introducing themselves at our sorority breakfast. This is a little silly but I just about burst every time my college roomies Jamie and Melissa introduce themselves as an attorney and pediatrician. They worked so hard for those titles.
  • The most significant teacher in all my life was my creative writing professor in college. Uniquely goofy (he did a puppet show with socks in my American Lit Survey sophomore year), his shoulders shake up and down when he laughs. He challenged all my thinking about poetry when I was an earnest twenty year old and he never fails to write me back the moment he gets an email from me. I got my graduate degree because of him. I learned to write poems because of him. I hate to use “and” after two commas because of him. And I have the warmest of hearts for him. He and his wife came up to campus Saturday morning just spend time with my family and me. So grateful.
  • Since we moved to Austin, August has become best buds with Jamie’s (see: attorney, above) little boy, Cameron. They have the same sort of quirks for unusual information, they talk a lot, and they have that sort of little buddy connection that I’ve only seen August have once before with his friend Alton in San Francisco. Saturday morning at the homecoming “Kids Posse Corral” (we’re the “Cowboys”), my son got to ride a horse, pet a pony, and slide down a blow up slide with Cameron. It was awesome.
  • Friends so dear that my heart aches when I’m with them because I want more of them in my life.
  • My amazing parents who drove four hours to Abilene to watch our kids Saturday night and then drove the boys and me to their house for a week of Halloween fun with cousins.
  • Getting to experience all my school traditions with my husband by my side. He watched a football game, sat through three hours of All School SING! with me, sang the school song with his hand in the shape of a gun, and videoed me singing outside with my sorority. It was sweet. Then we held hands and I walked him through all of campus, showing him where all the important conversations with boys happened, where I threw candy from my dorm window at smooching couples, and where I spent Senior year eating a burger every day for lunch (seriously). I’m thankful.
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