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High School Reunions: Tricky Little Numbers, No?

My wife’s high school class was celebrating their 25th anniversary. You know, assuming you celebrate being two and a half decades removed from the era in which you thought you were invincible.

Regardless, such a milestone calls for a reunion and I, for one, was hopeful that we’d attend for three reasons. First, while I wasn’t in Caroline’s class, I was in the class right behind it and I was always pretty tight with her class. Second, Caroline and I had not been able to attend their 20th reunion as the triplets were, almost literally, still wet behind the ears. And third, there were many who’d known both of us in high school, yet didn’t know us as a couple. And I kinda thought they’d get a kick out of seeing us together, that it’d be cool for them to see firsthand why the two of us make so much sense, after all, even if no one could have ever seen us coming.

So about eight weeks ago, I asked her if we were going to go. It didn’t go well.

“I’m not sure yet. I won’t be sure until I’m actually there — IF I choose to go. And I don’t wanna hear another word about it. You got that?”

Indeed.

What’s more — I get it. High school reunions, or any reunions for that matter, are heady affairs, and there are any number of reasons why. But the bottom line is this: it’s hard to re-establish baselines without asking “definition” type questions. Questions like what do you do?, where do you live?, are you married?, how many kids do you have?  etc… And it’s hard to answer those questions without feeling as if you’re being put in some sort of box — this, despite the fact that these questions are posed merely to provide context. This, despite the fact that you’ll undoubtedly ask them, yourself.

Not that Caroline has anything to be ashamed of in providing such answers. She’s happily married and has five beautiful kids and lives in a wonderful city. Plus, she’s fit as a fiddle and absolutely beautiful to boot. Still, it’s hard to attend these things and NOT “compare notes.” To NOT assess where you are in life in relation to everyone else. To NOT wonder whether you should be “further along,” whatever the hell that means.

Caroline decided to go to her reunion after all and I’m so glad she did. Just as I knew would be the case, I had a blast catching up with her old classmates, my old friends. And, just as I’d predicted, many, it seemed, did enjoy seeing their two old friends in this new-to-them context — that of man and wife. They enjoyed hearing about our courtship and how we became a blended family six years ago. They enjoyed hearing about the triplets (who’d turned five that very day) and also liked in hearing about our baby boy, Luke. And in witnessing our flirty and fiery banter, more than one remarked on what a great couple we seemed to be.

And while all that was wonderful to experience, what was even better was that the night wasn’t the heady, note-comparing affair many might have assumed. Instead it was a celebration of kindred spirits and the common ground they once shared. The old band was back together, y’all, and the hits kept coming late into that good night.

No one cared where anyone had landed. We were too busy celebrating the point from which we’d all jumped.

It turns out that regardless of vocation, marital status, number of kids, city of residence and all the rest — this group of people have a common denominator that cuts through all that bullshit. This group of people came of age together. And because of that, they have impossible amounts in common with one another, courtesy of the bond they began forging some 30 years ago.

Caroline went to bed as soon as we got home, but I stayed up and had another beer, and as I drank it I thought about the thousands of yesterdays which begot today. It’s such an intricate path, this life we’re all negotiating, what with its many forks along the way. But it’s a beautiful path, too, no matter which of those forks you’ve chosen to take.

More beautiful, still, when you realize that regardless of the exact route, we all have a lot more in common than we often realize.

Here’s to the class of ’87, y’all.

I love those guys.

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