Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Blast From the Past

In September of 2009 I birthed a wrinkly, squirming baby.  And until last Saturday, we'd never spent one night apart.

You read that right.  I had not had one night away from Graham in his entire life, and the only time I have spent away from Cael was when I was either in the hospital delivering Graham or in the hospital holding Graham while he delivered baby vomit into a plastic tub.

I needed a day away.

A couple of months ago, the date for my 10-year high school reunion was announced.  Originally I hadn't planned to go, but the stars (and dates) aligned in such a way that a lunch with an out-of-town friend was scheduled mere hours before the reunion.  I called my bestie, Alissa, and made plans to stay at her house overnight and attend the reunion with her since it was taking place only a block or two from her home.

Saturday morning came and the alarm on my phone buzzed.

"ALISSA/MEGAN/LUNCH/REUNION'p';';fkkmkjkmmpppooo" came up on the screen.

I didn't know what the random letters were supposed to mean after the memo I'd written.  Perhaps it was a ghostly message from beyond the grave.  Maybe it was some sort of futuristic iPhone code embedded in my alarm to predict the upcoming event.  Most likely, however, is that one of my little creeps was trying to spell out "poop" on my phone.  I thought briefly of how restful my sleep would be without crackling monitors and sticky fingers at my bedside as I put my phone and charger into my overnight bag.

On the drive back to my hometown, I reveled in how much everything had changed.  The trees had grown up tall around both of the homes I knew as a child.  The houses in my neighborhood looked smaller, closer, and the town seemed to have lost some of the interest it had when-- Whoa, they're getting a McDonalds?

After my trip down memory lane, lunch with our friend Megan and escaping "death by flying dishes" at Olive Garden, the reunion was upon us.  I wasn't really sure if I was excited to go, or simply dreading the experience.  In high school I felt as though I fell somewhere in the middle of the crowd; I had a lot of friends and loved music and theater but there were those girls with the perfect hair and clothing whose level of popularity would always be unattainable.  Similarly, there were guys in the hall that saw girls like me and my friends as invisible or unworthy of their attention.  It was these sort of people that made high school unnecessarily dramatic for me (and about every other girl in America).

But about two years ago I started to notice a shift.  It was subtle and inconsistent, but it was there.  As our fellow classmates got married and had babies, received promotions and embarked on adventures, the online well-wishes came from all corners of our collective past.  Football players and math nerds alike understood that we'd reached a new point in our lives where the politics of our past were insignificant.

And then we walked into the reunion, and I could hear the noise from all corners of the room.  Cliquety- clique, clique, clique.

Tara, Mary, Alissa and Deanne
I felt as though I'd stepped back into 1999 with my uncontrollable hair and my first high school boyfriend at my side.  Wait-- that IS my old boyfriend!  But this time I didn't really care what anyone thought about me because I knew I had the affection and admiration of two little camanches at home.  Alissa and I ordered up some drinks at the bar and had fun chatting with a lot of gracious, friendly people-- the same ones that would have been gracious and friendly back then.

After several of the weakest mixed drinks I've ever consumed-- more drinks than I have fingers-- we were still completely sober and able to take stock in the bizarre dichotomy of the evening.  Engaging conversations with old friends were punctuated by spats between intoxicated women in the restroom.

"Who spilled a drink on you?"

"She's mad because you're talking to her ex!"

"There's no toilet paper!"  Okay, that one was me.  But after eleven drinks you've just gotta go.

I guess some things never change, but other things do.  Like Alissa and me staying out until 2am and closing down the bar.  Or chatting with an old friend and not worrying about what rumors would follow me through the halls at school.  Or even sleeping on my friend's couch and waking up at 4:17am to another buzz from my cell phone.  But this alarm, which I had not set, didn't say "poop".  It just had a letter "M".

I think it stood for "Mommy", and I'm just fine with that.

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  1. You are right on the money. It was a great night catching up with you and the girls. I like talking about our kids, and sharing experiences. I makes me not feel so alone.

  2. I know what you mean! It just makes you realize how unimportant all of that drama really is. We know what's really important.

    Now that I've written this I'm guessing I won't be invited to the next reunion. :)

  3. wish I had went to my 20 year reunion 2 years ago. Also I voted for your blog!

  4. Heidi- Thanks for the vote! The beauty of the reunions is that there's another every five years! Have fun at your 25th!

  5. Not at my school. too small only every 10 years, and they have trouble with getting enough people to come then. They even combine 2 or 3 years together!

  6. Bummer! I've often heard that smaller classes are closer and more tight-knot. I didn't have that experience, but that's great if you did!


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.