Monday, May 10, 2010

Suburbs of Our Discontent

This weekend I was down in New York for my 25th high-school reunion. It was a nostalgia hit of the highest order. Plus it was the 125th anniversary of the school so they were pulling out all the stops: photos, movies, soundtracks, displays of beavers through the ages (yes, it's an all-girls school and, no, they have no intention of changing the school mascot.)

I love the girls I went to school with, and since we didn't have any Lysander and Demetrius drama to get in the way of our friendships, we stayed very close. It was too much bother to compete for the cute guys at the all-boys school across town. It was clear who the Hermias were in our class pretty early on, so it was easier to just let them be adored while you hung back, watched "General Hospital," and smoked on the boardwalk with your friends.

Now I can see why Shakespeare liked to pull out the big reunion ending in his plays (that is, when he wasn't having everyone kill each other.) It has it all: reliving the errors and glories of your past, checking out how well people have aged, reconnecting with the people who knew you way back when and can keep you honest. You may want to forget your past, but there's a value to remembering it, warts and all (and I do mean that literally. Thank you, Dr. Shupack.)

When I got off the train back here in Boston on Mother's Day, my kids were waiting on the platform to greet me. Past meets present meets future. "I lost my tooth!" my daughter cries, showing me the gaping space in her mouth. (This is the best Mother's Day present ever since that tooth has been dogging us for a month, hanging on apparently by a cement thread.) "I made you a pin with me on it, because we were supposed to put something on it that you love, and you love me!" my son tells me, like this is the most obvious thing on the planet. Which, of course, it is.

And for one crystal clear moment, it all comes together. Like, "Right. Now I get it. This is who I am. This is how I got here. These are my people."

And then we're in the car, and the fighting begins, the jockeying for the "special spot," and the DS, and the fruit snacks. But that's okay. Because I got that platform moment, that Act Five, scene five. And I can go a long way on that.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still processing the awesomeness of your having attended an all-girls school with a beaver mascot - totally jealous!