April 26, 2011
Last weekend I was in Dallas and reconnected with six of my high school classmates. The last time we saw each other was in 1982. To start with, this reunion was different from any other I have attended in the past. In other reunions I would meet old friends or classmates at a restaurant, enjoy a good meal, and talk in a big group for a few hours before we all went back to our busy lives. In Dallas we were there together for nearly one and half days. It helped me personally get to know my schoolmates again and made me realize how fortunate I was to grow up with them and have them as classmates at St. Lawrence High School.
There was something different about this group versus the friends I have made since my school days. As one of my classmates pointed out, “These are the most innocent of friendships. Growing up we did not judge each other, we were just friends.” So true. Life was simple. We did not need to wear masks in life. Since then, each of us has evolved and may be a little cautious in our expressions, but the small group that met in Dallas went back to our high school days. It made me realize that each of us has defined success in different ways throughout our lives.
I discovered that behind every person’s professional self was a passionate human being. We were all proud dads, our connections were warm and deep, and each in his own way wanted to make the world around him bigger and better.
As I flew back to Denver, I carried with me memories that made me realize how fortunate I was to grow up with these six cool dudes. Then I began to smile as I thought of the timing of this meet. Raka’s prom is this weekend and soon she will be finishing this chapter of her life, the life that I just revisited nearly thirty years later. Of course with Facebook, text messaging, and emails, she will not have to wait for thirty years to reconnect.
As I was writing this, Raka came in to show me a photo of her in her prom dress. She looked simply out of this world wearing it. I kept staring at the picture and visualizing what prom is or what it means. Last year, I was fortunate to be the chosen one to drive her and her friends on prom night. I am tempted to share her prom picture with you all, but I do not want to give away her surprise element before prom, so the photo must wait until next week.
Another thought put a smirk on my face. We did not have a prom growing up, as I went to an all-boys Jesuit school. Yes, we missed out on the prom fun, but what we had was priceless. I wish I hadn’t waited for thirty years to appreciate it.