So I went to my ten year reunion this weekend. Ten year High School reunion, that is. Adult conversation? Margarita? Tater tots with crab dip and cheese on them? yes-I’m in!
Of course its got me really thinking about way too many aspects of my life. I have always thought of a ten year reunion as a time that you’d go back and show everyone how far you’ve come in life, maybe a little bragging, a little “I’ve made it”. I really didn’t show up with any of those feelings, though. In so many ways, I’ve “made it”. I have a stud of a husband, two kids (girl and boy), a beautiful home (except for the stinking tile kitchen that all my nightmares are made of), a college degree. I may not look the same (thank you-10.3 lb Jay!) and I really do love my life, don’t get me wrong, but I think the thing I’m proud of most is leaving behind that girl I was in high school. Insecure, exclusive with friends, preppy to the max, obsessed with status…the list goes on. I’m so glad she didn’t join me in adulthood (for the most part).
I was talking to a friend at church this morning about how I’d love to send my kids to private school and what a great experience I had. Her face scrunched up immediately and she said “not for me, I hated it, I wasn’t popular so it wasn’t a good experience”. I immediately wondered if the biggest difference between then and now is that I see people. Was I just part of the in-crowd and had no idea that my high school wasn’t a fun place for all? I was never someone to mock or ridicule people for being different but I’m sure I didn’t come to their rescue either. I think sometimes THAT kind of person is worse.
So here I am, the day after my reunion wondering if I should have shown up with a thousand apologies for being blissfully unaware. Everyone is obviously “fine”. The reunion was a blast. I have not seen, much less spoken to more than 3 people in that room and probably one or two were on purpose. Still, it was a blast catching up with each person I had a few moments with but I wonder if the real problem is that I didn’t have relationships with some of my peers at all in high school and I’m just now thinking to care about it. That is a whole lot of ugly.
As always, I end up thinking about my kids. I can pray and encourage and beg them to reach out to the loner and stick up for the person who is being ridiculed, to eat with the person whose sitting alone at lunch but one day I will drop them off at school (maybe not, that may be a blog post for another day) and just hope that they would care. I think if they would just be people who see everyone and care about them; to simply be kind I would feel like I was a major success at the parenting gig. The last thing I would hope for any of us is to coast. The most horrible thing would be for our kids to read about our current generation in history books and ask what we were doing to stop all of this chaos and we didn’t have an answer. My kids very well may ask what I did to stop human trafficking, or HIV spreading like wildfire in our own city, or racism, or mass shootings for no reason at all. I hope I will have shown them that I care deeply and I did something, that they need to care for the victims and the outcasts whether in their school or those who are simply taking up the same amount of space on earth. What a difference ten years makes. Praise God there aren’t ten year reunions for college. I’d be sleeping through that one!