Apropros of my last post, it is possible to feel like two people at once. Ann Arbor was wonderful, and I did feel simultaneously like my own collegiate self and like the parent of my just-graduated son. I've mentioned before that I like the notion of time lapping ahead and back on itself, and this was another example of that intriguing phenomenon. Sitting in Michigan Stadium did make me nostalgic as it reminded me of all the other times I've sat there, most of them 31-35 years ago. But seeing it all set up for commencement (it turns out that about a hundred yards of people graduated, give or take) was new to me, and that reminded me that I was in the present. (So did the disgusting pictures, which were, I fervently hope, digitally produced, of a hacked-up full-term baby brandished by the anti-abortion protestors. I couldn't help but think that while our commitment to free speech was equally strong in the 70s, protestors had either more taste or less access to Photoshop.)
My husband and I also realized as we spent the weekend with our kids - now almost 25 and just 22 - that they are two of the most interesting and convivial people we know. We always have a great time with them, and we can see that they enjoy being with us, too. We are constantly fascinated and impressed by how intelligent, thoughtful, funny and easy to get along with they are. And they're so adult, which somehow continues to come as something of a wonderful shock (and, I suspect, probably always will).
I wasn't much of one for worrying about whether being serious about my own career and working so hard when they were children was a good thing or a bad thing. As with other child-raising (and life) decisions, at each juncture I tried to do what felt like the right thing, to take what seemed like the best course - for my family and for me. I was lucky, I guess - lots of women tell me they felt or feel guilty in the same work/motherhood situation. Guilt isn't an emotion I experience properly (as my mother once told me). I don't seem to feel it instinctively, and I've never thought it particularly necessary or productive. Even so, though, it's awfully nice to see that the results of my child-raising and career decisions are so positive. It's very, very gratifying to have two kids who are not only self-sufficient, mature, think-for-themselves individuals, but also a complete pleasure to hang with.
So, no, I don't miss being my 20-year-old self. Not even in Ann Arbor. Being 20 was great, but this is even better.