I was totally daunted by the challenge of having to go from Sweatpants Mommy to Acceptable In Public And I'm Not Just Talking Walmart in just a couple hours. The reunion was at a bar in Seattle. What do you wear to a reunion at a bar? Dress? Jeans? Tight leather pants? After 30 minutes of googling "what to wear to highschool reunion at a bar," I threw in the towel and decided it would be jeans. Seattle is pretty informal to begin with. Besides, it would be much easier for me to go from 0 to 50 than it would be for me to go from 0 to 100.
Now it was time to pick a top. I grabbed my favorite go-to for special events. There was a huge spit up stain on it. "Oh yeah, I wore this two weeks ago...." I thought as I looked at it longingly. Then I placed it right back on the hanger and into my closet where I could find it and be disappointed again for the next special event. 15 shirts later, I settled on whatever didn't scream "I'm a mommy and haven't gotten dressed up in 11 months!"
Before we left, I glanced in the mirror. I had the jeans, I had the shirt, I had the hair, and I was wearing a lipcolor that wasn't my natural "I just made out with a white crayon." Wow! What a 180! From 4-day-old yoga pants, a stretched out cotton shirt, and greasy hair that had been rubbed with tiny peanut buttery fingers to.....an almost normal human. I might have even slipped into a thong as well (without accidentally putting it on backwards first! Extra points!).
We dropped off our kids for what would be our longest time away from them since Ryan was born. I'm not even ashamed to say that I wasn't sad and never had the urge to rush home early to see them. In fact, when I was sipping my all-natural diet cherry coke over dinner, I enjoyed every minute of being able to feed myself with TWO hands...oh, and SILVERWARE! THIS! Is what a human feels like!
After a fabulous dinner with my best friend from highschool and her husband, we headed out to the reunion, purposefully and fashionably late. It was SO refreshing to be "fashionably" late instead of "I had to coax my stubborn toddler out of wearing his Batman cape and my high heels, then the baby dropped a poop bomb on the highway" late.
We circled the block a couple times before finding coveted parking in Capital Hill. As we began to walk up Pike Street, excitement fluttered in my chest. Or maybe that was just the sign that I needed to pump. Or maybe it was both. As we walked, the streets became crowded with loud, jovial pedestrians. We passed two overweight, shirtless men in matching suspenders, leather chaps, speedos, and firemen hats. They were standing on the corner of the sidewalk, laughing loudly. Behind them I saw a group of men wearing booty shorts and sporting neon-colored shirts and glasses.
"Wrong!" I thought. "This is just so wrong. Those men CANNOT look better in booty shorts than I do!" My face burned as I became suddenly envious of the smooth, sleek legs carrying slender, chiseled male bodies. Before we crossed the street, we passed several other scantily clad men and women in flashy outfits. That's when I realized that, no, my former highschool classmates had not all joined a circus and shown up at the reunion in their sparkly and revealing attire. In fact, we had walked into the very heart of the Gay Pride Festival.
When we finally arrived at the bar, it was almost an out-of-body experience to see my former classmates together in one place. While some of their names rolled easily off my tongue, I was embarrassed that I could not name a large number of them. And who were the random, creepy old men walking around?
One look at my super skinny classmates made me suddenly conscious of the 7 pounds I had yet to lose since having Ryan and so I jettisoned my plan for drinking the former football players under the table while I was jacked-up on Ibuprofen and opted instead for a wild night of Diet Cokes and "that's what she said" jokes.
In line for drinks, I chatted up a couple of familiar faces...
"Wow, you've performed five dozen open heart surgeries? And you invented a wedgy adjuster app for the iphone? You're saving orphans in a fourth world country?" Wow, I gasped, genuinely impressed. "Oh me? Well, for the last three months, I've been wiping toddler noses and infant butts. Oh and my son can hiss like a snake. And I can put away a family size bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in four days or less. Ha!... What was that? The sound of your mind being blown? Why thank you!"
I was genuinely happy for all my successful classmates. I thought back to all the dreams and ambitions I had when I was in highschool. Back then, I had looked into the future with excitement and eagerness. I was going to be an astronaut. Piloting the first shuttle to Mars. Or I was going to be a diplomat, traveling across the globe, mingling with foreign dignitaries, speaking a dozen languages. Whatever I did, it was going to be big. And adventurous. And unusual. And I would set the world on fire.
And now, ten years later, here I am. A human sponge for the bio-hazardous liquid of two mini-people. Jumping to their every need. Smiling for them when all I want to do is pass out on the couch. My need for them, the cause of the temporary down-size of my career. Where there used to be an ambitous, ladder-climbing professional, there now is a person who would give up anything to be home by dinner. A person who would give status, paycheck, and socially acceptable outfits to play Thomas the Train Uno with an emotionally abusive three year old while jingling plasting rings in front of a toothless, grinning, poop-bomb.
"So. you're a lawyer right?" My former classmates asked.
"Yes." I would respond. I didn't really want to talk about the lawyer part of me. Sure, it's my job, I truly enjoy it, and I think it's perfect for me. But that's not WHO I am. Since having kids, my identity has shifted from what I do to what I live for. And right now that's the two precious people in my care.
After a bit of chatting, I grabbed my purse and headed for the restroom. Once there, I sat on a couch to pump and made small talk with the girl sitting next to me adjusting her make-up. We chatted for a bit until I accidentally flung milk droplets in her direction while adjusting myself. I guess that's a conversation killer?
I finally joined the reunion again and sat next to my husband and best friend. We looked around the room and saw the same highschool groups forming around each other. It struck me that while it was nice to see people from highschool, I was having more fun hanging out with the guy I see every day- my husband, and my friend who lives just minutes away. The four of us sat there for a couple minutes before exchanging glances that seemed to say, "Wanna find some more naked firemen?"
We left the bar and headed to an icream place around the corner where we dined on delicious fresh icecream. As we lapped at our dessert, celebrants of Pride Fest ran happily down the street high-fiving us and yelling, "Happy Pride!" We cheered back at them.
Molly Moon's: best ice cream in town!At the end of our evening, my husband and I walked onto the ferry and chatted as the lights of downtown Seattle slipped quietly away behind us. It had been a good night. Eating with silverware, Half-naked firemen, catching up with people from the past, hanging out semi-topless in the women's restroom, and maple walnut icecream. There was also a little bit of self-inflicted glamour shots:
What else could you want for your ten year high school reunion?
We came home. And I mean HOME, home- my parent's house. I slipped into bed between my husband and my 2 month old. My husband slid his arm under my pillow and I placed mine around the 2 foot human curled up beside me. It was warm. I was happy.
I may not be the astronaut I had planned but I love where I ended up. As I started to fall asleep, my mind drifted between the past and the present. I decided that I was happy to leave the past in the past and to be thankful for now.