Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Turns out

Friday night we attended Paul's youngest niece's high school graduation at my alma mater, Wyandotte High. I have attended very few graduations since my own and I think this was the first one I've attended at Wyandotte in the 18 years since then. My class, the class of 1991, was the first class of incredibly young, seemingly invincible, teens to walk across the stage set up on the new Brewster Field. Thousands of others had graduated on the old field and in the New Gym, but we were the first on the new field. This has afforded us nothing in life - I have yet to see the need to put it on a job application and quite frankly, no one is even that impressed when that particular piece of trivia comes up in casual conversation.

As I sat there swatting and scratching at the chiggers that were slowly eating away at mine and my oldest daughter's flesh in tiny, chigger-bite-size chunks, I got suddenly thoughtful. Not just thoughtful about whether or not I had enough Calamine lotion to quell the itching once I got home, but thoughtful about the kids who were sitting in those folding chairs down on that football field in black and white robes. There were about 45 of them and they looked way more confident and mature than I looked and felt at 18. These girls had perfectly highlighted hair, designer sunglasses and clothes that will never get them featured on What Not to Wear. I wore a mini mini-dress to my graduation and the only reason I wore it was because my mother hated it. It probably looked horrible on me, but I didn't care. I had gigantic Aqua-netted hair and plans to make out with my boyfriend later that night.

Friday night one young man got a $14,000 cattle judging scholarship and another girl got TWO $35,000 scholarships to OU and OSU, one girl took home probably $20,000 in all sorts of separate scholarships. 18 years ago, I got a Norse scholarship to NEO, our local junior college, for $500 and the alumni association's scholarship for $250. Yes, I had said scholarships but I didn't know what to do with them. The thought of enrolling in college terrified me to pieces and I didn't even want to go. To this day college still terrifies me and I've tried it twice now.

I wondered if those kids realize what's ahead of them. I know when I was sitting there, fanning myself in my folding chair at the tender age of 18 I thought I had it figured out, I thought I knew what was going to happen at certain points. I now know I had no clue.

I thought I'd marry that big bald-headed football player I was going out with. Turns out, he married one of my best friends. I thought I'd always be close to the three girls I had hung out with that year. Turns out, I haven't spoken to any of them in about 13 years now. I thought I'd always have a tiny waist and would always be able to grow my nails long. Turns out, I lost my waist two kids ago and you know how they depict hands coming up out of a grave on the cover of horror film DVD's? Yeah, those are my nails.

I wonder if the girl in the third row knows she will get a divorce at age 35 and dye her hair crayon red. I wonder if the girl third from the end on the left knows she will finally declare the alternative sexual orientation everyone else already knew about in her late 20's and live to tell about it. Does the guy on the front row know he's going to do five years in prison for grand larceny and beating the snot out of his girlfriend? What about the football jock? Does he know he'll become a youth pastor? The shy guy with the blonde curly hair peeking out from under his cap? He's going to show up at the 10 year reunion and no one is going to recognize him because he kind of grew up over the course of a decade. The girl jock that everyone loves? She'll be beaten unrecognizable by her worthless first husband, only to meet the love of her life some 10 years later.

And that nerdy teacher's pet wearing the mini mini-dress? Does she know she's going to drop out of college, move away from home only to come back a month later, get engaged, get un-engaged, meet a man who was a teacher's aide in her Kindergarten class, fall in love with him, work in a hospital, get pregnant, tell her unborn child good-bye before she says hello, open a home daycare three different times, nearly get a divorce, have three amazing children, start a blog and live happily ever after?

She does now.

5 comments:

DeadpanAnn said...

Excellent post. Nothing more to say.

missqokc said...

I once told my son that life doesn't usually turn out the way you think it will. That doesn't mean it's bad, it's just mot what you expected. He looked at me like I had kicked him in the stomach. I guess somewhere along the way you just have to decide to live happily ever after no matter what. Sounds like that's what you did.

linalynn said...

really good post hats off to ya

Cedric said...

Ah, the old Alma Mater...hasn't anyone burned that place down yet? Better add that to my bucket list... And let me just add, the mini mini-dress most definitely did not look horrible on you.

Jill of All Trades said...

Wow, great post. I've often thought about those things, especially since I put together the reunions we have every 5 years (now 35 years).