I am hours away from confronting my former high school peers. In doing so, I am realizing a few things. One is that my son is dreading the likelihood of a lot of adult conversation. Two of the events of this reunion weekend involve family. This means that he will have to endure my running into people with whom I could possibly have a lot to say. It has been 30 years.
But this is one area in which my son Sid and I have our greatest conflict. Too many conversations. It is not just that wherever we go, I seem to know someone and wind up in what I am told is a boring conversation. It is that it takes from our precious time and often involves bragging about him. The mere existence of a parent can be embarrassing enough. The highfaluting, self-consciousness raising prattle is more than any tween should have to live through. I am guilty. I DO know too many people. And they all have to hear about Sid. They know this. They usually ask, first.
Another things I am realizing is why I have not been to one of these gatherings before. It is not so much that I am recalling my lack of motivation for going, or motivation for staying away. It is reading comments, sharing, private and public about the dread that comes with the idea of returning to a place that might have been wonderful for a select few, returning to a context from which everyone will be judged, not wanting to be judged, evaluated or compared, not wanting to return to a place that might be much the same as it was when it became clear that we had to escape for more than just opportunity, but for sanity and ideals.
In going back, I am ready to through more than vanity out the window. I don't care. I did hear from one of the most dear people who greeted me with kindness and welcome when I first arrived at the new, strange school. She is not going to the reunion. As a comment from Jennifer from last week's post ("My First Reunion") reminded me, she is one person who I would like to say thanks to.
At the same time, I am urged by several people to either have fun or make the most of this context-providing experience. In the next week, I will be sure to share something.
At the very lest, I will bow out of one of the high-profile events, the evening hanging at the pub on Saturday night. I will be at the St. Cloud River Bats last home gave of the season with Sid and my father. In a few minutes, we will get in the car and drive northwest, where grandma and grandpa will be waiting for their son and grandson. They will feed us. They will worry as much as I should about my reunion experience and care most that it is a good excuse for them to see their only grandson--and to give him the chance to watch more baseball.And soon, I will be confronted with the truth about how old I really am.
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