Well, ten years, one month, and ten days ago?
Graduating from high school!
See, Mom, I actually did something right...wink, wink. :)
This week I enjoyed attending my ten year high school reunion. Thursday night we attended a family barbeque at one of my favorite parks where I took swimming lessons as a child. And last night we attended an adults-only dinner at the high school catered by Johnny Carino's.
My graduating class of 2000 had 304 students in it. I think maybe 50 people showed up last night (that includes spouses) and at the barbeque there were probably twice that many people - a lot of them different people, and of course, they had their kids too.
I felt a little awkward at first, and then it just clicked. It was very natural, just like seeing these people in the halls every day for 4 years. Except most of them I'd seen since middle school - so 7 years. And a good chunk of them went to preschool and elementary school with me - so, yeah, I've known a lot of these people for a good portion of my life. It was good to see them again and say hello and catch up. There weren't too many surprises. Justin Baker is finishing his PhD in biomedical engineering or some kind of nonsense. He was always an over-achiever. :) Jackie Hartzler is a successful attorney, like she always said she was going to be. . John Hendricks is getting his master's degree in Human Resources (you can't deny that he's a people person!), Jessica Doggett is a teacher, I bet she sure is fun. Some people are mechanics and salesmen. Stay-at-home moms. Doctors. Just a lot of awesomeness. Maybe the biggest surprise was hearing Jon Loop is now a Catholic priest. He was always so argumentative about religion - agnostic and borderline atheist.
I sat with my high school bestie Vanessa and our good friend Jackie and their husbands Jason and Scott, respectively. Oh, and my husband was there too. I am so glad that Justin was on board with going to this reunion. He didn't complain once. I know he was happy that Jason would be there because we've hung out together several times. But boy were they being silly last night!
Our class president, Robert Sullivan, had us all stand up and talk about what we've done for the last ten years. About a third of the way through the introductions, Jackie whispered to me that the speeches were kind of depressing and no one seemed very excited about their lives. We kept hearing comments like, "I just stay at home." And "I still live in town." "We just own a small business." Anyway...I decided "just" and "still" are naughty words because they take away from the actual satisfaction and accomplishment of life - no matter what phase you're in.
I live very close to where I grew up - and it was a choice I made and I LOVE it!
I have a job that doesn't exactly impress but I am good at it, I enjoy it, and I get paid!
I wish I could afford to stay home with Joci - so there was something particularly sad about those women who said, "I just stay at home with the kids." I can't wait until someday I can say, "I am lucky and thrilled to stay home!"
After dinner, we explored the high school, looked at the pictures on the walls, reminisced and got silly. Justin and I even found a dark hallway and made out - something to make my high school self blush. :) The reunion - both nights - were a lot more fun than I anticipated. And I'm really glad I went.
So in remembrance of Hillcrest High School's Class of 2000, here are some Lara-pictures (my scanner at home died and the one I ended up using didn't have the greatest quality pictures):
(drawn by Joe Ostenson on the bus ride home from the Natural Helpers retreat at Badger Creek, 1996)
Celebrating state drama victory Lara and friends
(Lara, Kelly Callister, Jessica Doggett, Sharla Boyle, and Cady McCowin - slumber party at my house)
(Sara Ostenson on far left, Amy Brower, Lexi Perry, Lara, Tiffany Yost, and Jessica Doggett)
(actually this is middle school. Go Dragons! I'm on the bottom right)
Miss Hillcrest Pageant Lara
(1st runner up - 1999)
(Ben Jemmett, Maria Finch, Vanessa Skidmore, and me)
Much Ado About Nothing Lara
(Drama III play, 1999)
High School Graduation Lara
(with Dana Shearer and Melissa Thoreson)