My high school reunion was a week ago. This story is not going to go how you probably think is. Back in January our class president started a Facebook page to promote the big event. I won’t say how many years ago I graduated but we have definitely skipped over a few reunions and this would be the first time that many of us would reunite.
A friend of mine added me to the Facebook page without clearing it with me first and then immediately took herself off of it (you know who you are, traitor!). I have made my peace with the fact that I was probably a nerd in high school but have reconnected with enough people and rekindled friendships so that I didn’t feel weird going to the reunion. So yeah, I didn’t get the big acting gig I was hoping for and I haven’t published my novel. I’m a divorced eighth-grade Science teacher, with a non-monetized blog and a couple of unpublished books and two children who are less than perfect (not unlike their mother), but I have made my peace with that as well.
The reunion was held at a bar nestled in the middle of a business park that also housed a University of Phoenix campus. In college we joked that it was the campus bar. So the bar was not set too high, so to speak (love my pun?).
My plus two and I strutted in with a swagger that announced that we were the three coolest people in the room even though we are all single and all none of us in the best places in our life. (Yeah the whole plus two thing might be weird, but so am I. One of my guests went to our school for a year although she did not graduate with us. It was slightly more awkward that my other plus one was mistakenly referred to as my husband multiple times, but this is a whole other story).
“We’ re not married,” I corrected my estranged high school bestie as she handed me a name tag and the designated “significant other” blue marker. Actual alum wrote their names in red.
“Oh that’s okay, common laws are welcome too,” Estranged bestie replied.
“We’ re definitely not that either,” I replied awkwardly, desperately hoping that my plus 2 could not hear this conversation. The rest of our dialogue went something like this:
“Baby daddy, whatever…”
“Yeah, not that either…”
“So you’re not into labels… that’s cool.”
Why could I not have just said that to begin with and then I would have come off as cool and bohemian as my reddish-pink maxi dress, Havianna flip flops and Lucky brand chandelier earrings announced that I was?
“Pshah… labels. Who needs them?” I said with a casual flick of my wrist, latching onto the perfect explanation.
People started fill in the narrow corridor so my trio started moving further and further into the room to encourage people to come in. Little by little my former classmates moseyed on into the party room until it was acceptably full.
I’m more of a people watcher than an extrovert so I let the people come to me. I have to admit I was very surprised at the people who made a point of coming over and starting a conversation. It was definitely good to catch up and even better to talk to people who I was not even sure liked me in high school but acted very happy to be reunited.
The best part of the evening, however, was when I got to sit down with a former friend who has always been so chill and in control. I’d always wished I could be as fearless as she was and as able to step out of my comfort zone. She’s married to an amazing man and has an exciting job that lives to a lot of international travel. We sat down to munch on appetizers and catch up.
“You know,” she said, “having kids is nothing like I thought it would be.”
“You’re telling me sister,” I nodded as I shoved a nacho in my mouth.
“My girls, they’re just so wild… I don’t even know what to do with them sometimes. And they have no fear!”
“OMG! You should totally read my blog!”
“You have a blog? Is it about parenting? Do you share tips and strategies?”
“Haha!” I laughed out loud. “I wish I was that awesome. I have no idea what I’m doing. My kids are just as wild, if not more so than yours. I don’t get it! I was such a good kid, why am I being punished?”
We both felt so relieved to be able to vent to someone in the same situation. It’s always nice to talk to someone who knows that ‘the struggle is real’. I shared my many stories of my young children packing their things and trying to run away, or their attempts to remodel the kitchen with sugar, coffee and slime.
At the end of the night, we agreed to meet up for a play date with the kids before my friend headed back to her current exotic locale. Why we thought that doubling the number of wild children in an enclosed area good idea, is beyond me. I mean it was a cash bar so it’s not like we were blasted out of our minds. Maybe it was just a show of solidarity.
The rest of the night was relatively unremarkable. I loved the pregnant lady who wore the shirt that said “I’m not fat, I’m knocked up!” But at the end of the night, I left with my friends happy that I went. I still need to call the friend who bailed and catch her up on who’s who and what’s what. And I haven’t even gone into a petty rant about who got fat (fatter than me) and who looks way older than me… I won’t go there this time around. Most of us haven’t changed a bit- we were just nicer to each other all these years later.
Oh, and the most important thing… that the struggle is real- at least for some of us, if not all of us. The ones who aren’t struggling- well, they’re boring and probably lying!
Cheers to those of us who keep it real!
- Single Mom Unfiltered