"Say what you have to say, and not what you ought."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Reunions and Reflections

Somewhere in the back of my mind I've been vaguely aware that this year marks 25 years since I graduated from high school. Yesterday I was clearly reminded of this fact when one of our class officers created a Weber High Class of 1988 Facebook group. As I scrolled through the pictures of my classmates I was struck by how little everyone has changed. Sure, we're all older now, but when I look at every one's faces I see the person I knew back in high school. This is probably a common phenomenon, as I think it's almost impossible to separate the reality of our aging selves from the shadow of our younger selves. Not to mention the fact that I think we're all a remarkably well preserved group! We for sure don't look like what in high school I imagined 40ish people would look like.

The other thing that struck me was how quickly the past five years have gone by. I don't remember feeling this way in the months leading up to our 20-year reunion. Then it felt like it really had been decades, years in which we were all busy growing up and becoming the adults we are now. But now, five years past that milestone, I can't stop thinking about the next 25 years. My life will be more than half over by then. I'll be 68 years old! It's a humbling perspective, and one that has caused a lot of self reflection over the last 24 hours or so. I can't shake the realization that I still have so many things left in my life that I want to accomplish, and having 25-35 more years to accomplish them doesn't seem like nearly enough time. Of course I know that life doesn't end in our sixties, seventies, or eighties, or in the case of my grandmother, even in the ninth decade of life. But, it does slow down, and the ability to do things that I'll easily be able to do for the next 20 or so years will definitely diminish. 

These thoughts aren't resting that easily with me. I still feel so young, and in many ways like I'm finally figuring out who I am and what I want to be when I grow up. 25 years ago I expected that by the time I was 43 I'd feel more than grown up, that my life would be exactly what I wanted it to be. Ha! Life had other plans, or to be more honest, my life choices led me to where I am now, which isn't exactly what I imagined in May of 1988 when I threw my cap in the air and walked out the doors of Weber High School. 
Am I the only one who feels this way? Sometimes it's easy to think that I am. In the last five years technology has changed at warp speed. At our 20-year reunion mark Facebook still wasn't that widely used. Today, Facebook makes it easy to stay connected to classmates, and also gives me a glimpse into many of their lives. I guess it makes us all a little voyeuristic as we watch from afar, making assumptions based on little real knowledge about what every one's lives are really like. I try to remember this when I see the signs of seemingly perfect lives of some classmates who seem to have figured out this adulthood thing long before me. 

I look at the picture below and I'm struck by our youthfulness, our sheer delight at being grown up enough to date and go to high school dances. I also see our adult selves, and am grateful that I still maintain connections, however casual and infrequent, with three of the people in the picture. 

As of today there is a poll being conducted on our class page as to whether or not people want a 25-year reunion or want to wait for a 30-year reunion. Five years ago I was ambivalent about our reunion. Today, waiting until our 30-year reunion seems like a really long time. Maybe I'm just getting more sentimental as I mature, but now I see the value in reconnecting with classmates and former friends. Time does fly, life is precious, and there isn't a relationship quite like the one with those who were there during our formative years. We never know what life will bring over the next ten years, nor who it will take. I feel remembering our younger, more innocent selves and the people who mattered so much to us then is important. Maintaining the connection to our past, to the people we were, and the friends who knew us then, is meaningful to the people we are now. I think every opportunity to reconnect with each other should be embraced and cherished. So, yes, I voted for a 25-year reunion. 
My first high school dance - Sophomore Year, 1986

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lost and Found

Having three dogs was never my intention. That all changed last week after a late night call from my daughter. Her dog Reese was missing and had been for five days. Reese had gone missing from Gillian's dad's house five days earlier while Gillian was with me. For whatever reason, her dad didn't notify anyone that Reese was gone. 

Gillian was understandably upset and so was I. I imagined the worst. We'd had several large snow storms over the previous few days and nighttime temperatures had been below freezing. Few animals could have survived outside in such conditions, and a 12-year old Toy Poodle like Reese definitely couldn't. Still, I tried to remain hopeful and promised Gillian that I'd post flyers and start searching in the morning. 

Not looking for her wasn't an option. Gillian and Reese have grown up together. Gillian was two years old when 8-week old Reese joined our family. I named her Reese because of her caramel and dark brown coloring that reminded me of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. When I divorced Gillian's dad, Reese stayed with him in the house we'd all lived in together. I was moving into an apartment and didn't know when I'd be in a house again and able to have a dog. Also, I thought disrupting Gillian's routine and surroundings as little as possible would be best for her. 
Gillian and Reese - Christmas 2000

Even though it was almost 10 p.m. when Gillian let me know Reese was missing, I immediately posted her picture on my Facebook page along with information that she was missing. Mike also posted it on his. Within a short time the post had been shared by over 40 people. The next morning before 7 a.m. we had news. Someone had messaged Mike saying they thought they knew where Reese was. While I waited for more information I checked my Facebook page. A stranger, a woman who was a friend of a friend, had seen my post and asked me to message her. Her friend had found a dog the same day Reese went missing, and she was pretty certain it was Reese. We exchanged phone numbers and before long I received a call from the dog rescuer. I asked a few questions to make sure she had the right dog. She texted me some pictures. It was Reese! 

She'd found her just a few blocks down from my house running down the middle of the road. She took her home and posted a picture on her Facebook page asking for help locating the dog's owner. Her friend saw both of our posts and got in touch with me. Social media had saved the day! Reese was alive! I couldn't believe it. Thanks to many caring people my daughter would be reunited with her dog. 

I brought Reese home and decided she was going to live with me. The callousness and disregard shown by my ex didn't sit well with me. I couldn't fathom that he would be that insensitive to Gillian's feelings, not make any attempt to find her dog, or even let us know she was missing so we could look for her. He'd also neglected Reese's medical care for years. Her teeth were in terrible shape and causing her obvious pain.Two days after she returned, I took her in for a teeth cleaning during which she had to have four abscessed teeth pulled.  He didn't protest when I said Reese was coming to join our family. 

I've always believed how a person treats animals says much about their character. Not caring for a family pet isn't something I can fathom. When I talk to my mom and sister, we don't just catch up on news about the kids, we also share the latest antics by our pets. In our world, pets are family and are treated with love and compassion. Now I have a new addition to my fur family. Reese will spend her golden years with me, loved, pampered and cared for just as a beloved family pet should be.