Monday, August 13, 2012

Can I Get A Witness

"We need a witness to our lives.  
There's a billion people on the planet...I mean, what does any one life really mean?...
The good things, the bad things the terrible things...
Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.  
Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness."
-From the movie Shall We Dance

When I was a kid, my mother listened to a lot of Kenny Rogers' music.  There was one particular song where Rogers sang "we don't stand on ceremony."  I don't remember the exact song, but I remember that line.  "Why in the world would someone stand on a woman named Sarah Monie?," said my 9-year-old mind.  It wasn't until years later that I discovered my mistake.  Seriously years.

I tell that story only because I think it's funny and it is one of the only ceremony stories I have.  And also because I am so damn tired and hungover from reunion festivities that I may not be thinking straight.  Clearly, there have been other ceremonies in my life, i.e. my wedding, various graduations, etc.

My 20th high school reunion this past weekend was one giant ceremony of remembering (and dancing).  My trip back in time to a place far, far away called Kalamazoo began on Friday afternoon.  I dropped off the kids and drove away feeling uneasy, but excited.

I'm not even sure why I wanted to go in the first place.  This 20th high school reunion was my first time back to that life.  I have seen a couple people over the years off and on.  Of course Facebook has kept me in touch with a lot of people from my past lives, including high school.  

The way I remember high school is....well, difficult.  I wasn't particularly the smartest or most interested in learning (although if only I could go back, I would soak it up and have so much more confidence), I didn't really have a team, club or group I identified with and my home life was miserable.  That was how I remembered it and that was true, but there was so much more.

Walking into the first night's festivities, a mixer at a piano bar, I was completely overwhelmed.  It's weird to go back in time.  My senses were on overload.  On the way over I had called my husband (who stayed home with the kids for the weekend) and told him that I needed to pace myself.  "You know how I have a tendency to drink too much, talk too much and dance too much when I'm nervous?" I asked.  "Well, I'm going to try and slow down."

"Mmmm, okay honey," my patient and loving husband said.  "Just have fun and relax."

It was awkward at first, but with each hello it got easier and more fun.  After a few drinks, it was a breeze.

As that first night went on, it was less about the reunion and more about having fun and relaxing.  After a while a group of us went to the bar next door to listen dance to an 80s band.  It felt a little bit like a scene out of Bridesmaids or a stay-at-home mom version of The Expendables 2.  Picture it, four older mature ladies walking into a bar squealing when carded, all wide-eyed and ready.  Ready for a good time.  And a good time we had.  One woman in the group got her ass grabbed and yeah, we squealed again.  

After getting back to the hotel at close to 2 a.m., I spent much of the next day in bed.

But then it was time for the big event.  THE reunion.  I put on the dress, over did the make-up and fluffed the hair and waited. My friend's mother was picking me up and taking me to the dance reunion.  
I felt like a hooker with my short skirt and heels waiting in the lobby of the Best Western.  It was surreal.

Once I got to the event, this is how it went down:
At first no one looks familiar and it just feels strange and uncomfortable.  But then you see them.  You see the faces of the people you grew up with. The people that were there when it all went to hell, the people that knew you with braces and giant poofy bangs, the people that you drank with under the bleachers at football games, the people that you passed notes with in the halls, the people that broke your heart, the people that made you laugh, the people that knew you before your parents broke up, the people that knew you had a crazy mother, the people that you sat by in keyboarding.  The people that are part of your story--witnesses to your life.

And it felt good.
It felt good to go home. Connecting.  Regrouping.  Remembering. Witnessing.   

Just when I felt like I had done it--successfully navigated my 20th high school reunion while holding it together--I became too much.  Yup, the last hour I drank too much, said too much and you better believe I danced too much.  

Instead of leaving the night with my head held high, I went too far.  

"Were you flashing people or throwing drinks?" my husband asked when I told him of my too much-ness.  "No? Then you're fine, who cares."  Yes, that's right, you have to do a whole hell of a lot to embarrass my husband.  I think I married well.

And he's right, no one cares.   The reunion was like a big wedding, it really did feel like family.  I feel comfortable that my drinking and dancing didn't freak anybody out (or shock anyone) too badly and it's just part of the story.

Here's a short MomPulse video with some of my advice on how to enjoy your 20th High School Reunion (You might want to turn it up, my voice was shot last night when I made it and I had to be quiet since it was way late when I made it.)

One song I couldn't get out of my head, kind of my reunion theme song was Home.  Yes, by the American Idol winner.  Yes, the overplayed song that was everywhere this summer.  But I don't care.  It's a great song and a perfect one for this past weekend.

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