Wondering where I've been? I took a trip with my kids back to the home I grew up in. My littlest had never visited there, although he sees my mom and dad often. They always come to us. I was glad I made the journey. It was combined with my twentieth high school reunion which is mind blowing.... let me tell you. Part of me feels like there's no way that I'm that old, while another part of me insists that it's surely been longer.We had such a nice visit with my parents. My kids romped all through the backyard I grew up in. These woods shaped my life. My mom, dad, and I all grinned at each other as we watched them explore and play their imaginary games. It was so familiar. This creek was the back drop for many a play staged in the woods with my sisters and me. We had elaborate imaginary worlds filled with characters living on "the frontier." We often enacted scenes from "The Boxcar Children" or "Little House on the Prairie." This particular morning was not the first time that children have played in the creek in their pajamas. I think I heard the water sigh with content.
As for those friends from high school? Almost all of them I had not seen in twenty years. When I left, I never really came back except for occasional visits to my parents. I was as nervous as a cat, but deserve a badge of courage. I almost turned around and went home before walking in the door. I questioned myself at the last minute. Would everyone think my marriage was failing because I came without my husband? Why did I want to see these people, most of whom, I had lost contact with? The answers eluded me as I drove there.
I certainly wasn't going to prove anything. My conversation starter would be that I stay at home with my 3 and 6 year old, that I like to sew, and garden, and run in the woods. There's no segue way there for my career and educational success which I've chosen to put on the back burner. I wondered just what I would share with all of these people from my past. It was a strange thing to be inundated with so many emotions which were rooted from twenty years ago. Click. I was as awkward and nervous as I'd felt as a teen, clinging to my shaky self esteem.
What I discovered was that for the most part, everyone else is twenty years down the road too. Just like me, they've had their share of struggles, joys, mundane moments, and life changing events. The people that I was really close to then, I still felt a strong sense of connection. It was just incredibly gratifying. I even made some connections with people that I had never really talked with in high school. We shared about our gardens and talked about our kids.
I always try to push myself outside my comfort zone. It is so easy to safely stay in one's own box. Some days I manage that leap more successfully than others. Often, my anxiety is clearly apparent to any passerby. I'm not saying I handle each challenge gracefully. I can tell you though, that I'm so happy I made this trip.