There was a lot of flip flopping and inner turmoil leading up to my high school reunion. If I went, everyone would see that I got fat, and behind my back they would say "Oh My God, did you see how FAT she got?" There was also the issue of awkwardness with an old boyfriend who would be in attendance. Did I mention that there was also a person I hated who offered to punch me in the face in high school? The flip side of that was that these had been my friends. These were the people who made high school bearable. They were the people who helped to form "me". This was not the entire high school, it was just a small group of high school friends getting together after 25 years. I think that perhaps there were at most 35 people invited.
In the end I had this revelation. It was so obvious that I felt embarrassed when it finally occurred to me. When I last saw my friends I was 18 or so. That is 4 years older than Grace. Gracie is going to change in 25 years, why couldn't I have? I didn't care if anyone got fat (although I was kind of hoping the guy who offered to punch me in the face got fat, and a horrid case of adult acne), these were my oldest friends. I just wanted to see these people who had once upon a time been really important to me. Sure I would have loved to arrive and have everyone gasp and be so jealous that I was still hot and had barely aged. I would have loved that if I had magic, but in terms of putting hard work in, I was ok with people seeing the old new me.
The day of the reunion my house was filled with whines of "Why do we have to go to your stupid reunion. ", "There will be no one our age and we'll be BORED!" I heard Christopher quietly telling them "I don't want to go either guys, but we need to be there for Mom." It was so adorable, not. I kept trying to reassure all of them (including the largest child I have been married to for almost 22 years), that everyone that would be there was really, really nice. There would be lots of good food. To the kids I told them that there would probably kids that were there ages that they would have fun hanging out with. In the end I decided that they could all just whine because they were going to go, and they were going to like it DAMN IT!
I arrived at the hall to be greeted by Travis, one of the organizers. "I was wondering if you were going to come, I was going to call you." He then figuratively put his foot on my back and pushed me in the door "Get in, we're waiting for a special guest". "I'm not a special guest?" I asked. "Yeah, you're really great" he said sarcastically, his head darting to the door looking for that special, super guest. I began to wonder if it was the Prime Minister, or maybe Bono. "Now get in!!!!" In that instant I felt instantly at ease. Travis had not changed. The "guest of honour" was the school music teacher. I'm sure she was super fantastic awesome, but I never took music, so to be honest I really didn't care. I made my way in and was instantly set upon by other friends, hugging the life out of me. Why had I been worried? These were my friends, who the years had separated, but in meeting the years had melted away.
Here were a group of middle aged people. We had all aged. Some of us had gained weight, many of us were now sprouting tufts of grey hair, and our face's looked a little test driven. It was obvious that it was 25 years later, and yet in talking to everyone, no one had changed. I am sad to say that the person I most dreaded seeing had aged amazingly well, to be honest I think his looks improved with age. He also had no adult acne .... why are you so cruel Karma?
My kids and husband were well behaved. Some of the people told them stories about me when I was in high school, they really enjoyed these. They did not intermingle with the other children, but that was ok, they were quite content to eat all the great food that everyone had brought for the potluck. I looked over on a few occasions to see Christopher engaged in discussion with many of the people.
In our online discussions about bringing pictures and food I had mentioned that I still had the music video that we had made for grade 13 english. There were 4 of us in that group (one included my boyfriend of the time), and our friends were the extras. Julie told me I had to bring it, she would find a VCR. I did the big debate, should I bring it? Honestly I could not remember if there was anything that might be uncomfortable on it. In the end, I brought it. We all crowded around the tiny TV watching our young selves. "Why did I think I was fat then?" a few of us proclaimed. My kids were rivited. They now had proof that I had not been lying to them all these years, I had been young once. Gracie my 14 year old quietly looked at me with an admiration. Later that night she said almost in disbelief "Mom, you were beautiful!" When we came home that night the kids were all obsessed with that video. They were begging me to let them watch it. I kept telling them we no longer had a VCR. "Mom, we want to see your video". I'm not going to lie to you, it was a nice feeling seeing my children look at me like I was a person, and not "just a mom".
I had seen my old boyfriend, but didn't know how I should approach. Honestly it was nice to see him. Finally we both gathered up our courage and greeted each other with a big hug. We talked for a while, and I remembered what a nice guy he was, and how easy he was to talk to. Why had I been trepidatious about this. I introduced him to my husband of almost 22 years, and my boat load of kids and he introduced me to his wife. She seemed really lovely. It was really nice. We then moved along to greet other old friends.
You will be glad to know (or perhaps like me you had kind of rooted for it), but there were no altercations between the guy who challenged me to a fight all those years ago. We never even really looked at each other. Part of me was terribly relieved (I really hate any kind of conflict.) The other childish half of me hoped he would do something rude, and that my big, strong husband would lay him out. Apparently in my middle years I have exchanged the "My Dad's tougher than your Dad", with "My husband's gonna clean your clock if you're mean to me".
I was trying to pick out which children belonged to which parents. Some of them were really easy to guess. The funniest thing was everyone's reaction to my kids. "It's pretty obvious which children are your's. Are they clones?" I kind of got a huge kick out of this, the kids, not so much.
By 9 O'Clock I took pity on my husband and kids and we left. They had been really good, extremely good. I had been really proud to be able to show off my greatest achievements in this life. I was not a big time professional, but I have a heartbreakingly beautiful family. I have a happy marriage. My life is really, really good. I am a very lucky woman, and I know and am grateful for it every single day. I left that night feeling really blessed, and so happy that I had not let my insecurities get the best of me. I had a really nice time. It was so nice to see everyone. I hope that it won't take 25 years to see everyone again (mainly because we may all be quite senile and won't recognize each other).
When we got home, my kids looked at me a little differently. I knew that it would only last that night and so I should really treasure it. One of them commented that they couldn't believe I had so many friends. If I think about it, I can't believe it either. They were in awe of that old video, and their young Momma. For Grace I think it was shocking to her to see that I was once around her age. That night I fell into bed with a smile on my face, it had been a nice evening.