Natalia Naman Temesgen: A new perspective on spring break

April 5, 2014 

I recently got back from a spring break weekend at Panama City beach.

The average age of my party was 18. And like an 18-year-old, none of us was able to visit any bars or dance clubs. Because our individual ages were 27, 27 and 1.

The last time I had been to PCB for spring break, I was a senior in college. MTV was partying there, so we got to see rap stars Pitbull and Rick Ross perform for free.

I remember a dude hitting on me in the crowd of one of those packed concerts. After another lame pickup line, I felt the sand at my feet growing warm and wet. The guy had drunkenly wet himself mere inches away from me. Attractive.

If someone told 21-year-old Natalia that six years later she would be back at this beach with her husband and baby girl, she would probably laugh out loud. Or run screaming. It would just be too different to imagine.

There's something comforting in the monotony of childhood. We all go to school for what seems an eternity. At some point, most of us drop out of the school system and start to earn an income. Some of us get married, start a family or buy a house. But after high school graduation, the time frame of most of that is totally up in the air.

My husband Pete and I are going to Princeton reunions in May. Every year, reunions bring back more than 20,000 alumni for a weekend of music, dancing, parades and lots of cheap beer. And we're not the first of our friends to be parents, but we're among few.

We're not sure what to do with our daughter. She comes and we get to stroll her around campus, show her off, and walk her through the parade. We also probably pass on the majority of the post-8 p.m. fun (which is a lot of fun).

If we leave her with her grandparents, we can show her pictures to everyone and blend in a little better with our classmates -- mostly single, working folks living a life that generally isn't too different than it was five years ago when they graduated.

Different is the norm for us now. A highlight from our spring break weekend: accidentally losing my husband in Pier Park after one of our phones died, then driving home and grading papers while the baby napped and Pete spontaneously caught a matinee at the movie theater.

I heard the spring break festivities one night from our balcony. And I'll admit that for a second, I wondered if I was missing out. But this trip, our baby girl was finally old enough to walk and play in the sand. She laughed every time the waves touched her feet.

Missing out? Not at all. Just soaking it all in.

Natalia Naman Temesgen is an independent correspondent. Contact her at nataliadian1@gmail.com or on Twitter @cafeaulazy.

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