Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reunions and puting things in perspective

The important things in life ... my mom and SWAC Niece walk hand-in-hand at Michie's Tavern on Mother's Day 2011.

Balance in life and perspective are often things we learn as we grow older. Time weathers us and we learn to cherish those nearest and dearest to us and, hopefully, we understand where our priorities lie as we pursue life's journey.

I graduated in the 1970s from a Chesterfield County, Virginia, high school with 550 other teens who scattered to the far edges of the earth. We gathered a few times over the years in Richmond to catch up, and then dived back into our lives ... raising families, growing businesses, pursuing careers, and running in the rat race that is life.

Back when we were in school, there was no Facebook. There were no answering machines or cell phones, no laptops or computers to help with school, and certainly no Twitter. So much has changed over the years, mostly for the better, and now we who are parents and some who are grandparents are using these technological inventions that our children take for granted.

Facebook has proven to be a wonderful tool that has brought us together after many years. As we relive the memories, the music, and the news of the era, friends are reaching out to friends on a renewed basis. Some were only passing acquaintances back then but now have become three-dimensional and personal.

I enjoy keeping up with their lives and we've discovered many of us are on the same page politically while others went to the left side of the aisle. We've enjoyed some lively and rational political conversations -- often on my Facebook wall (imagine that!) -- and it has been interesting to hear points of view from all political perspectives. We're an opinionated group of individuals, these children of the '70s ... and sometimes minds are changed; sometimes, not. Bridges, however, are not burned. We've had our bumps and bruises ... we realize that living on an island would be no fun as we grow older.

And the pictures ... we've shared photos of ourselves, our children, those who have grandchildren. A number of classmates went into the military ... some are still active. It's surprising how many of us are living in Virginia but, truth be told, we're all over the world.

My high school class was one of the most high achieving at that time. My fellow classmates lived up to it by becoming CEOs, company presidents, business owners, academia, doctors, preachers, dot com investors (and survivors), IT specialists, ranch owners, a well-known artist, and more.  One extremely successful high achiever from our class donated $10 million to his college alma mater, the University of Virginia.

Tonight on Facebook, one of those high school classmates posted something that I found to be very poignant at this particular time in our lives, and as the child of a career mother (and father), it rang especially true. He wrote:
When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.

On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage, and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school.

I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your momma put in a long hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides ... a burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!"

You know, life is full of imperfect things ... and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. What I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each others faults and choosing to celebrate each others differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

So ... please pass me a biscuit. And yes, the burned one will do just fine! And please pass this along to someone who has enriched your life ... I just did. Life is too short to wake up with regrets. Love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don't. Enjoy life now -- it has an expiration date.
And that, in a nutshell, pretty much describes most of my friends who have made it through the trials and tribulations of life's journey and realized the important things in life.

Thanks, Sid.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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