I’ll be honest. I’m still processing my recent road trip to New Jersey for my 20th high school reunion, which also coincided with the year anniversary of my Dad’s passing. It’s fair to say I’ve been swept up in a veritable sea of memory, emotion and moments ever since.
And, I’m feeling an overwhelming need to share. So, I’ll start with one moment and periodically hit you with others. Agreed?
And it’s this: walking into a room brimming with people you grew up with…some from as far back as birth, literally…some of whom you haven’t seen in more than 10 years, is, in a word, INSANE. In the most wonderful way ever. In fact, I wonder what a scan of my brain would have shown at the exact moment I entered the room.
Gathering up the folks who played roles in each other’s collective pasts is a powerful thing, and I say with joy and certainty that I grew up with the best people ever. I do not say that easily. Meaning, I don’t say it to blithely reduce one of life’s largest brain overloads to a clichéd phrase. I say it, because it’s utterly true. Which is to say that I cannot imagine my growing up years without this collection of people. Mostly perhaps because it would be a far different life and therefore not mine.
I’m not romanticizing the awkward years of teen angst and struggle. In fact, there was photographic evidence of it on display! Like any kids who grow up together, we fought, cried with and over each other, celebrated together and separately, clawed, kissed and alternately ground one another’s self esteems under our heels one minute and built altars the next. All of it, every moment, is precious beyond measure. Simply for the fact that it’s ours.
At the end of our 8th grade year, our principal, in a fit of rage, announced that we were “the most terrible class in history.” I’m quite certain that at the time, the comment was well-deserved.
The beauty lies both in the fact that we were once “the most terrible class in history,” and, in the very next moment, continued on our journey to morph and change into the people who, 20 years later, filled a room in Livingston, New Jersey with laughter, happy tears and stories well into the night. It is good to go home.