Yellow Farmhouse; White Rocking Chair
By Kayleigh Rahn
We took Nora to one of our favorite breakfast spots last weekend.
It’s a pancake house, maybe even the original, on the west side of Champaign.
In the summers of 2010 and 2011 we were weekend regulars when William lived in Champaign and I was still in school at Eastern Illinois.
He had a motorcycle. I had a backpack. So off we’d go with everything we needed for the day in one bag.
We’d head out while our friends slept off the fun from the Friday or Saturday night before.
Looking back it probably wasn’t as early as we thought. With a toddler we now know how an early morning looks; however, then, if we were out the door before 10 a.m. on a Saturday we were early risers.
Over breakfast we’d chat about the previous week and everything our future could be. We had goals and dreams that look a lot like life does right now–careers, house, dog, child. Sometimes we wouldn’t talk at all but play scrabble on William’s phone while we waited for food.
Sweatshirts were required for the ride over, but by the time we’d paid the bill the extra layers were thrown in the backpack, and we’d hit the road. We’d head to Allerton Park outside Monticello or tour our old stomping grounds, stopping to share stories.
We toured East Central Illinois on the bike. Date nights, local fairs, and family cookouts. Occasionally we’d get caught in a summer rain; once we ran out of gas.
On July 4, 2013 he proposed to me after we took the bike on a late night ride through the country to watch fireworks. We stopped in the middle of a rural Douglas County intersection. He dropped to his knee and asked if I could live in the middle of nowhere with him forever. I said yes. And 18 months later, as Mr. and Mrs., we bought our yellow farmhouse about 1.3 miles from that exact spot.
We sold the bike to a work friend just before we learned we were expecting. A chapter closed.
As we left the restaurant last week I grabbed the diaper bag; William picked up Nora. We headed to our SUV and strapped her into her car seat before running a few errands. We wondered if she’d ever know that once upon a time her parents were the cool kids who took off on a motorcycle while dreaming of a day when she’d become the center of their universe.
We sometimes talk about purchasing another bike in the future or maybe a different version of a “fun” vehicle, maybe one with four wheels, a memory maker for the family.
Last weekend, the morning wasn’t as peaceful as they once were. Between a diaper change and picking up Nora’s discarded napkins we found little time to daydream, but the memory is still just as sweet. For a brief moment while Nora was content with her scrambled eggs I realized life is still an adventure, even without the bike.
William turns 30 this weekend, and he’s been a bit down about saying farewell to his 20s. However, I’m excited. I think our 30s have the potential to top our 20s, as magical as they were.
It may look a little different, and we may not be as spontaneous as we once were, but the important pieces–the love, the laughs, and the dreams–have only gotten better.