Wednesday, June 25, 2014

High School Reunion

I remarked to Joe that one of the best parts of my high school reunion was that this was a group of people who did not know me as a mother.  That is a hard scene for me to find anymore.  We went out to the bars with people who could not care less about my kids, and I felt a sense of freedom and independence that I haven't in a while.  It's not that my former classmates don't know my children, or at least know of their existence, because I've proudly posted their pictures, words, and daily goings-on on the Internet.  It's just that beyond a cursory, "Do you have kids?" or, "How are the kids?" we all just had other things to talk about.  Or other things to drink or dance about, as the case may be.     

Don't get me wrong, I adore my children, I love being a mother, and I wholeheartedly embrace motherhood as a part of my identity.  In this season of life, I am a stay at home mom devoting my days to family life.  It's just that motherhood is not the only thing that makes me who I am.  I'm so immersed in domesticity at the moment that it was nice to take a break from that leading role for a couple nights.  When I was practicing law, going to the office meant putting on a different hat and being seen in a different light.  I think I miss that aspect of work.  Nowadays, many of my girlfriends (at least the small circle that I do occasional dinner dates with) are people I met through June's preschool, so while I cherish our friendship and time together, I also know that these are people who knew me first "as a mom."  Having children of similar ages binds us together, so not surprisingly, the conversation often turns to our own children, or how to handle the little things that we're all going through.  I do not mean to denigrate those experiences, because that is a support network that is invaluable to me.  I'm just saying, it was refreshing to momentarily feel like none of that stuff mattered much.

High school reunions are a little bit scary for most people, because they raise up our old demons, remind of us of stupid mistakes we made, and bring out insecurities that we suffered while navigating the complex (and seemingly highly important) social scene of our teen years.  I get that, so I get it why people often don't want to attend.  ("People" including my husband, for instance, although I'm sure his reasons included none of the above.)  Sometimes the reason is as simple as, "But I'm already in touch with the friends from high school that I care about."  That does make quite a bit of sense, and I could see myself falling into that category as I get even further away from my high school years.  But this time around, it was actually fun.  (Certainly more fun than the 10 year, which I had a hand in planning.  Two thumbs up for casual bar nights instead of stuffy banquets.)

Anyway, it was a breath of fresh air for this lady.  (Awkward, bizarre air that became less so as the weekend went on I guess.  Or maybe I am only remembering the good parts now that it's over.)  


jessica said...

So much more fun than I ever expected! Love that so many of us that are still friends have known each other since childhood/teenagehood. A unique relationship indeed.

Emily said...

I can't imagine having such positive feelings about my own high school reunion (which I probably won't attend), but I do understand the need to be a woman/adult/non-mom sometimes! I feel like having a second kid moved me from being a young(ish) woman with a baby into a mom and it can be really nice to enjoy the other parts of my identity. If I lived closer I would consider this as a suggestion for a girls-only happy hour once a month where all attendees must wear makeup and dry their hair.