Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

20 years later...

I had no plans to go. But then one day, while I was at her house, Kim and I were chatting as the kids played and we started talking about how fun it *might be* to go back. Her husband had never seen the town where we grew up and although mine had been drug there lots of times, I we always enjoy it. Ultimately deciding to leave the wee ones at home because we would need to find a babysitter while we went out and partied we made all the necessary arrangements, (thank YOU grandmas!!) packed our nose plugs, and set out for the cow manure capital of the world Garden City Kansas for our 20 year, but who's counting? class reunion.

I must admit we were pretty disappointed that most of our friends from high school had better things to do would not be in attendance. It was a bummer not to be able to see, in person, all those people we have been liking on facebook! Because even in this age of technology, no little click of the blue icon, no comment in the tiny box can quite compare to real, live, face-to-face, I will hug your neck then look into your eyes and have an actual conversation that requires human interaction with you, like. Social connection is an important component of a healthy lifestyle right? It's no surprise. I'm fairly certain that nearly peeing my pants over and over again laughing until the tears leaked from the corners of my eyes all.weekend.long. was good for not just my abs, but my soul too. No, I'm absolutely sure of it.

The four of us (Jason, Kim, Bobby and myself) made the best of it despite the friends we would miss, savoring the ease of getting in and out of the vehicle in less than 10 minutes because we didn't need to unlatch any little people or wait for them to find the motivation to finally WHY does this usually have to take so long, why? dislodge themselves from their seat belts each and every single time we stopped somewhere. We took note of how nice it was not having to spend exactly one half of any given outing in the restroom, waiting outside the restroom, or finding the restroom (quickly!).There was no smell of urine to tolerate, no change of clothes in the parking lot required when we discovered that hidden bathroom just a minute too late. There were no tempter tantrums, no rolling of the eyes, no lost shoes, no cajoling to eat vegetables, no bickering over who looked at who first, no asking if we were there yet, no flying forearm shivers across the chest of the person sitting next to us, and no complaining about brushing our teeth. We were all so boring well behaved.

What we did do was drive around and reminisce, allowing the memories to flood back, reinforcing the reality as if they had any doubt that despite how incredibly smart and utterly mature we are now, our husbands did not marry the class valedictorians. Ahem. So many times I had forgotten about came to mind and I suddenly remembered that I must make a mental note to myself. It went something like this: Tisha, don't forget to teach your kids to do as you say, not as you did. 

What impressed me most about those we did see was how much nicer everyone is after 20 years have gone by. It's as if time has softened the edges of all of us, making us kinder, more compassionate, gentler. Maybe we realize now that we are all more alike than we ever thought we were back then when separating into cliques was a ridiculously high priority on the To Do List.

Hearing people's stories I was struck by the fact that everyone has been dealt some measure of suffering, of joy, of loss and gain and victory and challenge and heartbreak and triumph. We have all faced ups and downs and we are more grateful than we were. Grateful for the opportunity to grow and to love and to laugh and to raise families and to have careers and to maintain friendships and to be alive. It's as though we've learned through our travels, how ever far away they may have taken us or even if they led us home again that life is truly precarious. It's fragility is no longer lost on us quite the way it was when we were perhaps often foolish, seemingly invincible teenagers. We are more careful to not tread so harshly on others. We've come to grasp that each person holds infinite, distinct value and that we are not so different as we may have once thought.

Let me tell you, that was refreshing.

May kindness continue to take root and to abundantly blossom for the next 20 years.

And beyond...

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