The past few weeks have given me much to reflect on. Caleb and I celebrated nine years of marital bliss last week, and the week before got brave enough to attend our high school's homecoming football game. I'll tackle each one separately and then segue into how they both intersect. (This should be good!)
We've been married nine years, but if you ask us, we'd both probably tell you it feels longer. NOT because of the agonizing slowness of marriage, but because wwwaaaaayyyyy back longer than that. We first met when we were 13 & 14 respectively, but didn't date then. Mostly because I wasn't allowed, secondly because we only passed each other in the hall a few times, and thirdly I was... pretty awkward that year (read: chubby & dorky).
When high school rolled around a few years later, Hotwheel Hubs will tell you he tried to ask me out, but he really didn't. We were friends, and hung out with lots of the same people. If you had told either one of us we'd get married back then I'm sure we'd both laugh in your face.
BookMamma & Hotwheel Hubs as HS seniors
I was lucky enough to have a good handful of GREAT friends in high school, a few that I am still in touch and involved with to this day. However, none of them - myself included - are terribly nostalgic for "the good ole days". We all agree it was pretty rough and are much more comfortable in our current skins. (Don't get me wrong, it was fun, but I'm not able to relate very well to people who can't seem to move past high school and think of it as the best days of their lives.) Going back for Homecoming was strange for me, but I thought it would be fun to take the boys, and my little sister was a senior this year so it was the last chance I could get away with going due to family ties.
I was surprised that it opened a floodgate of memories.
There was my parking spot, and over there was where dance team practiced. There was the "cafetorium" where I had drama class, and can you believe that teacher still works here?? Mainly though, it made me think of people, and past Homecoming games I attended in school.
My favorite year was 11th grade. I had some friends in the senior class and was doing that introspective thing teenage girls do when they start to question who they are and the company they keep and who they want to be. The main thing I remember about that year was being in a state of hilarity for the majority of it - EVERYTHING was funny. It was the year of Forest Gump, ER's television debut, and Kurt Cobain's departure. Beavis & Butthead were in their prime. I met new people and tried new things - some good, some not. Homecoming that year stands out in my head, because that was the year of the anti-Homecoming Queen... Danielle's reign began.
Specifics erased to protect the not-so-innocent.
Danielle was funny, pretty, athletic, and pragmatic. She was popular, but in a literal way as opposed to an elite way. Everybody knew her because she talked to everybody. She had an uncanny talent for making people feel included, students and staff alike. All the teachers knew her, all the cheerleaders knew her, all the dorks knew her, and all the jocks knew her. Which was probably how she got to be Homecoming Queen, although I seem to remember her hating it. She spoke her mind in a way I had not seen before - not confrontational or bratty like most 17 year-olds, but with unapologetic empathy. 1994 was the year I became friends with Danielle, and she was one of the first to impress upon me the endless possibilities of life outside of The Green.
Graduation happens, college happens, time passes. Caleb and I suddenly find ourselves back in the hometown during a lull in both of lives. A friendship is revived. Long story short, it all results in this:
The wedding was huge, full of friends & family. My girls from high school threw me a surprise batchelorette party the week before and Danielle was there, instigating as usual. Several weeks ago I got see Danielle as she popped into town to visit friends. We keep connected through the various social networks and still share friends, so I hear a lot about what she's up to second hand. It's rare & wonderful when you have a friend that time doesn't seem to touch.
Danielle & Choppa - she's the one on the right.
So, Danielle - here's your promised post.
(Please don't kill me, but you know you had it coming for the photo you put up last year!)
And to Caleb - my how time flies when you're having fun... you have helped me to never "[be] cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass."