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Sunday, July 2, 2017
On the Eve of my 20th Reunion
Well it isn’t the eve of my 20th anniversary...but it’s this month. And I know that some of these thoughts will be running through my head on the eve of my reunion. And sometimes when thoughts run through my head, I have to write them down. Call it an occupational hazard.
It’s been twenty years since I graduated high school.
Ten years since our last reunion...which at the last minute I decided to attend despite the yuckiness I was feeling due to being pregnant. After all the pregnancy was a perfect excuse for my weight gain. In 1997 when I graduated high school, I barely hit 3 digits on a scale. For some reason in my mind I thought that I would look like that forever.
Insert reality check here.
A year ago when I started to hear that we’d have a reunion, I gave myself a goal to lose some weight. I can do that! I’m an overachiever. Apparently I’m an overachiever in everything else but weight loss. In fact, I’ve never weighed so much in my life before, I now laugh at how nervous I was ten years ago. For a few moments I toyed with the idea of not going.
And then I smacked myself in the head. Sure, I’ve gained a lot of weight in the last ten years, but when I began to think about it, I gained so much more.
I became a mom, and learned how to change a diaper in the same weekend. I was never a "baby" person, and the idea of taking care of one was as foreign as Mars to me. In fact, my son was two days old before I learned how to change his diaper.
I gained unconditional love for this little guy, patience, and the ability to say "I have no idea what I'm doing!"
In ten years I went back to school not once, not twice, but four times. Yeah, you read that right. Four times. This chick who didn’t apply herself twenty years ago, woke up. The first time I was 8 months pregnant, and had to take a Composition course. So yes, while most new moms were enjoying being new moms, I was cranking out an essay when I returned home from the hospital.
Then I went back for my BA...my teaching certification...my MA.
I gained knowledge, confidence, a new career.
I worked in a daycare...for seven of those ten years. I ran music classes, drama classes, assisted some of the greatest teachers I’ve ever met. I worked with and became friends with some great ladies. I met families that “took me into” their village.
I gained love, friendship, and the title Miss Shannon.
I attended countless graduations watching students move on to the next phase, sometimes Kindergarten, sometimes high school, sometimes college or the work force.
I gained respect for multitudes of students.
We sold our house, bought a boat, and began to travel more.
I gained the feeling of not being tied down, and adventure. I made new friends, reconnected with old friends, even lost a friend or tow. I gained the lesson that life is short, don't muck it up with silly squabbles.
I wrote two books, five and a half plays (still working on that half!), co-wrote three short films, and became a published author in an anthology, and local publications.
I gained the feeling of accomplishment.
I directed more plays than I can count, and met some of the most amazing people in our little state.
I gained a theatre family.
I buried my father.
I gained an appreciation for life, a need to live it to its fullest.
So instead of focusing on the extra pounds, I know I should focus on that list. And instead of being embarrassed by the extra pounds, I should remember where they came from.
Late night snacks where my husband and I can actually veg out a bit and laugh at the same stupid movie.
Every bucket of popcorn shared with my son at the movies.
Family dinners, birthday parties, and impromptu ice cream nights.
Times out with my girlfriends, pitchers of Sangria, margaritas, and of course Taco Tuesday.
My inability to say “no” to the Pastry Arts students. How do you deny a chocolate chip cookie a student makes you just because they know you love chocolate?
And stress. Lots of stress. The year I ran PARCC for my school, studying, family tragedy. (Yeah, I’m the type of person to start rolling out breakfast for the Hospice nurses the morning my Dad passed.)
It all makes up parts of who I am. So on the eve of my 20th reunion when I am contemplating not going because I have nothing to wear than makes me look like the Shannon of 20 years ago, I'm going to take a deep breath and remember I'm not 1997 Shannon. I'm Shannon 2.0