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Everything in life worth having, I got in college

by Deborah Cruz

Yesterday, here in the Midwest, was Sweetest Day. Not familiar with the Hallmark Day? Well, don’t feel bad. I believe its only celebrated here in the Midwest. What can we say, we love LOVE! It’s basically Valentine Day’s little not so bright sister. Same idea on a much smaller scale.

All excited for the first road trip in the Jeep

The Big Guy and I decided that yesterday was a perfect day to take the girls back to where it all began… Purdue University. We woke up and spontaneously made the 2+ hour trip south. It was a gorgeous autumn day. The leaves were every shade of amber, yellow, red and brown, the sun was high in the blue sky, and it was perfect sweatshirt and jean weather.

Indiana autumn

It was very exciting for us to be back on campus. We haven’t been in about 8 years. We were living in another part of the country and then we had the girls and there’s just not been a “right” time to go back. But yesterday morning, it was time. The girls were just excited to go on a road trip in Daddy’s new jeep..its very loud and rugged and they think it is awesome.

Daddy and his girls


The place where it all began; September 29,1997

We got to campus and parked so we could go get something to eat at our favorite restaurant. Of course, we hadn’t counted on it being Homecoming weekend and Breakfast club still going on at noon.So we couldn’t take our girls to our favorite joint for loaded fries because they were still serving alcohol as a bar. We had to explain to my 5-year old why all the college students were running around in costumes ( in case you are not familiar with the term, breakfast club is when you stay up all night drinking then put on your most outrageous costume and continue drinking at 7 am until you pass out.) We wanted to show the girls where we met, Harry’s chocolate shop, of course, there was a line down the street because of homecoming drinking.

Daddy and the girls @ the engineering mall. His old stomping grounds.

We decided to find a restaurant before we all passed out from malnutrition and were violated by the costumed hooligans:) The littles just thought it was so cool that all the students were dressed up. Of course, hey were in a state of shock and awe when an over zealous co-ed ran up to them and yelled “BOILER UP!”. Bella looked as if he had just cursed her out. Long story short we ate something and showed the girls where all of our favorite memories together were made, where we had lived, where we had classes, where we met, my first all girl dorm as a

Long story short we ate something and showed the girls where all of our favorite memories together were made, where we had lived, where we had classes, where we met, my first all girl dorm as a freshman, where we spent that first long night laying under the stars telling each other everything in the middle of those damn soccer fields, where he asked me to marry him, where he told me he loved me and where our lives changed forever.

Where the Big Guy Proposed January 28,1998



Picking leafs at Purdue


The famous “fountain”

The whole time, my chest was filled with pride to be sharing such a wonderful part of our history with our girls. It felt like being back in our first home as a “we”. It also was weird to be in a place that was such a momentous part of my past, standing there holding the hands of our future. It was weird, like the two could not exist simultaneously. At the same time it was amazing to be able to do so. To be able to watch my little girls walk the halls, paths and lie in the grass and touch the trees of the place that made me who I am today was a surreal feeling. To see my little girls in their Boilermaker p

To see my little girls in their Boilermaker princess t-shirts or pink polka dotted PURDUE t-shirts, traipsing along the streets that saw me turn into a woman almost brought me to tears. By the end of the day, hearing them yell, “Boiler Up” to complete strangers, and for my Bella to say “Mommy, this is the best day ever” as she chomped on Mad Mushroom cheese sticks made my heart happy.


Outside the Liberal arts building; my old stomping grounds



Enjoying the campus

It reminded me of my time in college, starting out as a scared little girl afraid to leave home, thrust onto this huge campus with no one. I met my best friend that year in the dorms.The girl who would become fairy Godmother ( as Bella calls her) to my Bella, maid of honor in my wedding, my greatest ally in life aside from the Big Guy.

She is the friend who is so close we are sisters. She is the friend who knows all of my flaws and secrets and still loves me. I  never have to be anything other than myself around her. We are so close that her family is mine and mine are hers. So close that my happiness is her joy and my sadness causes her to cry and I am the same for her. That was just the first year of college.

My girl in the same spot I took my first ever picture on campus on Move in day , freshman year!


My best friend, my sister, “hermanita”.
 A time passed by I became the woman I was always supposed to be. I grew from a child who wanted and did childish things to a woman. College was where I loved, grew, cried, laughed, and learned to sort out who and what was really important to me.

And then it was the place where I met the greatest love of my life, the love of my life. It was where I learned what it meant to be all in. It’s where I learned that love is not about who is in control, who has the most power or what you look like, it’s about giving your heart over to someone and knowing that they will take care of it and guard it with their life. It’s where I learned that beauty is only skin deep and first impressions are not always right. It’s where I learned that anything worth having is worth taking big risks for and going for it. Purdue is where I finally met “ME”.

I’m sure the girls did enjoy the day on campus but they will never know what this first trip with them meant to me and the Big Guy. I looked at him and saw the awkward, long and lanky alternative boy with the bleached blond hair and blue tips sporting an eyebrow ring that I had met at Harry’s. I’m sure he saw the spunky coed who was thin as a rail but could throw back the drinks with the frat boys.That girl who was fearless and carefree. The girl who would stay up all night lying in a field watching the stars and talking about our pasts and future all in that first night. I liked how that made me feel.
Being back there was like coming full circle and I can’t wait to do it over and over again. Everything in my life worth having, began on that campus. It was the beginning of the biggest journey of my life and I think that makes it pretty much a sacred place for me. Sometimes the sweetest day of all is just stepping back, taking a deep breath , remembering where it all began and enjoying what you have accomplished in this life.


My baby walking my old path to class ( also the same path to the Big Guy’s house:)


The wonderment that began at Purdue! Thank you Purdue for the most amazing memories and beginning to my lifetime!

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Kim 2010/10/18 - 1:52 am

That sounds awesome, I bet the girl you were would have never guessed that one day you'd be walking the same spots with your future by your side. It's wonderful that you could share all of that with your girls. They may not fully appreciate how much it meant to you, but when they are older, I bet they will look back at it, and realize what just transpired

Chel 2010/10/18 - 3:00 am

Your family is beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Shell 2010/10/18 - 10:21 am

What a special trip!

Mommy NaniBooboo 2010/10/18 - 11:28 am

Ahhhh, college is where I "met me" too.
By the way, your family is well… just the sweetest.

sara 2010/10/18 - 12:09 pm

Ahhh. What a fantastic day. And so special that you could share all those special places with your girls!

Boobies 2010/10/18 - 1:33 pm

I love that you guys revisited your past…very cool!

parenting ad absurdum 2010/10/18 - 5:47 pm

I love it! I'll take any reason to celebrate – what a beautiful day!!

The Blogging Goddess 2010/10/19 - 12:16 am

Those pictures are fabulous! I went to IU my Freshman year in college. Not that that means anything…but that it's in Indiana.

Truthful Mommy 2010/10/18 - 10:33 pm

I think Bella knew it was important to me.
Thank you! I like 'em:)LOL

IT really, really was more than I could have ever known.
Girl it was fraught with pulchritudinous!Isn't awesome meeting your "me"? Thank God for college or I'd still be that goodie two shoes from calculus class.I was a popular nerd, don;t know how it happened worlds collided. Wait,I'm still a popular nerd..just a lot more mouthy:)

It was amazing! Words cannot describe it.

It was really cool to be where we met, fell in love, got engaged…it was the beginning of our story and there we stood with our happily ever after!Very cool, indeed!IT was a nice Sweetest day reminder of how deep and special our love really is to us.

It was beautiful indeed! I love autumn in the Midwest!

PartlySunny 2010/10/19 - 12:23 am

This is so weird. I was JUST looking at photos of college and grad school last night. What a trip. Must be the planetary alignment or something.:) Anyway, my pictures were freaking me out, so I can only imagine what this trip was like for you (although you did an outstanding job of describing it). It's like I know it was me, but I was on a whole other planet (more with the planets. . .). Anyway, great post.

blueviolet 2010/10/19 - 10:45 am

I didn't realize that Sweetest Day was a midwest thing! No wonder nobody knew what I was talking about on Saturday. I just moved from Michigan to North Carolina.

I have to say your photos made me a bit homesick for the fall color!

I'm glad you had a chance to revisit where your love took off and share it with the girls! So cute how she took on the same posture as your hubs in that one photo!

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