May 312000

It’s the day after Memorial Day. Two days after we were supposed to celebrate it, but a day after technically. The day after we are supposed to reflect on our Veterans, both living and dead, and consider the sacrifices that they made for our country. A sad time, really. A time to dwell on death and loss and sacrifice. A time to honor those who did what many of us today either could not, or would not, do.

That’s not what is on my mind today, though.

What’s on my mind is the fact that, in less than two weeks, I will be attending my ten year High School Reunion.

Ok, ok! So I’m shallow and self-centered, but it’s true. If I REALLY think about it, I can find the ability to honor and remember our vets. Hell, my Father served two tours in vietnam! I just can’t stop thinking about this damn reunion, though.

So, for all of you vets, I’m sorry. The rest of this essay has nothing to do with you.

I wonder if all my Gibbs High School class of 1990 class mates are feeling the same way that I am right now. This whole reunion thing, it almost feels like I’m going to be a member of a beauty pageant. Like I’m going to be rated on how successful I am, or how good I look, or if I achieved all of my “dreams” from High School. Well, I can tell you one thing, if that’s the case, the judges will conclude that :

  • I am marginally successful, after a long time of not being so.
  • I look like hell.
  • Most of my dreams flew the coop faster then you can say “What do you mean it broke???”

But I know how to make a bulleted list…that’s one thing, I guess.

Just for the record, I have no bitterness whatsoever for my current status in life. My son means everything to me, and I would not trade him for the world. He has, at times, been the only thing that keeps me going, and as far as I’m concerned he is all the “success” I need in life.

I guess where all of this really comes from is that I’m starting to feel OLD. I realize that 27 going on 28 is not ancient by any means, but I’ve got a big factor counting against me that the normal 27 year old doesn’t have. I’m raising a 17 year old (No, I am not that much of a stud. She is my sister). It’s not that I don’t like her music (our tastes are pretty much the same in many ways), or her clothes (she dresses quite “normal”). It’s more my amazement at the lack of weight on her shoulders. We lost our Father last year. She also lost not one, but TWO friends soon afterwards. Three deaths, and it hasn’t even been a year yet since our Dad died. All of that, and she is still a generally happy kid. She still gets all stupid over her boyfriend and likes to hang out at the mall and “forget” to do her chores unless I remind her every weekend. Man, I envy that. I wish I could just accept life so readily. Just shrug it off and say “oh well, at least there is a new Jim Carrey movie coming out.” THAT’S what I see as being young, and let me tell ya, I certainly don’t feel young anymore.

So, the reunion. I’m going to see some people I haven’t seen in a LONG time. Some people I haven’t thought about in a long time. I’ve already seen a few names that brought back memories. Bill Stanley. Christime Lavendar. Dan Bruen. People I literally never saw again once the commencement ceremonies were over, but who were a part of my daily life for four years. Isn’t that amazing? God, I GREW UP with Bill Stanley. All the way from elementary school until graduation. I haven’t said the first word to him since we graduated, though, and to be honest I don’t know HOW I’m supposed to feel about that. Should I bemoaning my “lost youth” and making some sort of effort to reconnect with my past, or is it “just life” and something I should accept?

Ah well. It’s early yet, and I haven’t had my coffee. I AM looking forward to the reunion, and I hope that I get to see people like Bill Stanley. I hope he’s doing well, and even if he’s not I would never boast about my life or try to compare it to his. That’s not what I’m about, and I hope that’s not what the reunion is about. It’s about seeing some people who you miss, and maybe having an evening where you don’t have quite so much weight on your shoulders.

As long as everyone accepts that my kid is cooler than theirs, that is.

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