Growing up, I could not wait to get out of my small town. It’s such a cliche to say, but I couldn’t wait to get away from these kids I had known my whole life, the house I had lived in since I was five, and the reality that everyone knew everyone else’s business.
All those things drove me absolutely crazy.
It’s funny how your perspective changes thirteen years after high school. Because those annoyances are now what I want for my children: a community to grow up in, a house that will always be home no matter where they go, and people, a whole village of people, that know who my children are and care about their well being just as much as I do.
I was lucky enough to go to the same school my whole life. My first best friend in kindergarten was there with me on graduation day. My first slumber party, my first girl/boy party, my first time driving a car without my parents, my first lots of things—I was surrounded by the same group of kids for all of it. My first friends are still my friends twenty five years later.
And recently we got together for a night out—drinks and dinner and stories. Lots and lots of stories.
Of course, as I was nervously heading downtown to meet them a million things were running through my head: do I look older? I drive a minivan now! What if my fly is open? Will we have anything to talk about? What if they bring up David Neilan??!
But there was also this sense of comfort. This knowledge that these girls knew me at my worst (hello, it was the early 90s; also, see pictures above), they knew my family, they cared about me and I cared about them. It’s an odd feeling to say you spent 18 years so closely woven together and now you don’t know them like that anymore.
As the night progressed, we caught up with how everyone’s parent were (and when did they get so old?), who had kids, who married who, the local New Pal gossip just like we were sixteen again. (Also, we talked about some not teenage things like our favorite Pinterest pins and how to clean a stainless steel sink. Adults are so interesting and fun!)
It was refreshing and relaxing and what I needed.
I would like to think I’m a sophisticated and mature thirty one year old: I’m married with kids, we own a couple houses, and I have a career. But there is part of me that will always, especially with those girls, be a teenager. Always be unsure and so sure, all at the same time. Full of self doubt and completely accepted.
It’s been an honor to know these girls for so long. To see who we became, to see who we are still becoming, and to see who we want to become. To laugh louder than anyone at the bar and share stories and drinks and pictures. To rest in our friendship and know that no matter what, someone has our back if we really need it.
And I’m looking forward to the next twenty five years.