Laughing at 20 Years

This weekend I laughed a lot, mostly at myself. A 20-year high school reunion provides the perfect occasion for such self-directed humor.

Seriously, what did my 18-year-old self think a 38-year-old's life would look like? Did I really believe those alumnae were "old"??! That life worth living was about to end? Bah! 38 has never seemed so young. Heck, 60 is starting to look like the prime of life. So my first laugh was directed at my younger, book-smart-but-life-ignorant self. Boy did I have a lot to learn.

Much of the laughter came while visiting with old friends. At the girls' night out event, at least 50 of us--almost half the graduating class--gathered for an informal evening. No background music, no one else in the room...and my ears were ringing when I left at 12:15 that night. Wow, can women talk! Aside from several great talks with old friends, I also enjoyed the sight of women who had not necessarily been close friends in high school visiting animatedly and taking pictures together. I caught up with bunches of old friends, and other classmates as well. There's something very equalizing about life experience and time.

And in the interest of full disclosure, embarrassment also serves as a great equalizer. Two classmates showed up very pregnant, and at least six of us there that night had babies under a year old. Which meant of course that some of us were nursing. And when you spend more than six hours away from your baby, and talk about those babies, certain bodily reactions are impossible to stop. I am forever grateful to Meg and Renee for rescuing me. Although, really Meg, did you have to tell your husband about it the next night while introducing me to him??

See? Laughter! Buckets of it.

Saturday morning many of us, with our families, gathered at the school campus for a tour. Much has changed there, and I for one enjoyed seeing the new renovations and additions. My kids, upon seeing the various statues of St. Joseph holding baby Jesus, Mary stepping on a snake, and nuns playing with school children, were heard asking questions.
"Was this your classroom, Mommy?"
"What's Mary doing?"
"Is that baby Jesus?"

"What's a nun?" (my favorite)

Saturday night hubby and I got all dressed up for the big shin-dig. Yet another reason to laugh at myself. I spent more time and money on my little black dress, cute black shoes, underthings meant to suck in my baby-gut (unsuccessfully, I might add), and pretty toes and fingernails--than I probably spent last Christmas. Not to mention the gas and food costs to get there... I wasn't exactly known in high school as the fashion goddess, to say the least.

Still don't have that title.

But it was fun, and worth it. Especially since hubby got all dressed up with me and actually enjoyed himself at a large gathering of people he'd never met before, wearing a name tag with his name printed next to my high school picture (I wore a similar tag).

More laughter--viewing the slide show featuring horrid 1980s big hair, old cars, and sad fashion. Watching classmates see themselves on the slide show and groan through their giggles. Trying to dance to 1980s music (or watching others try). Double two-stepping to the one country song we heard ("Calling Baton Rouge" by Garth Brooks--how appropriate!) but losing my shoes in the process.

Finally, I laughed in amazement at what God could do in the lives of 113 girls. Through conversations with some, and hearing about others from mutual friends, I learned that more than 10 classmates have given their lives to Jesus since high school. For some, it was a dramatic turnaround. For others it's been a slow but joyful process of learning that Jesus wants to have a relationship with them. I listened to two friends' testimonies and discussed a study of Psalm 119 with another...while sipping beer or wine (depending on the event) and blending in with everyone in their finery. Almost felt like a fraud, but God transcends denominations, careers, looks, and achievements.

Not only was my 20-year reunion a total blast, but God used it to encourage my faith. He's pretty cool like that!


Sandi said…
You made me want to laugh and cry. What a great writer you have turned out to be. I could taste the uh, drinks, and see the nuns. So glad you had a fab time!
Susan Wallace said…
Kelley - Well said! I do not remember the last time I had as much fun or laughed so hard. Thanks for doing the slideshow and for documenting this occassion on your blog! I am now a fan and will continue to read as I find the time. Good luck to you and see you in 5 years!