I got my high school magazine in the mail today. It travels a long way to get to me. All the way from Washington D.C in the land of the free and the home of the brave. A long time ago, my father moved us to the murder capital of the world for a three year diplomatic posting. I was enrolled in a private all-girls school with lots of other daughters of Ambassadors, Senators and the like. (Then U.S Vice-President Al Gore’s daughter was President of our Senior Class…not that Im name dropping or anything…) It was a school where I helped contribute to the 5% black/brown population.
Talk about mild culture shock and a steep learning curve. I loved the canteen – a place where one could eat copious amounts of food anytime, all day, as much as you wanted, for free, was a wonderfully new concept to me. (just thinking of the barrows overflowing with apples and pears brings tears to my eyes. As I buy a measly apple from Luckys Foodtown for $3.50 for ONE. Sigh.) But academics wise things were less cheery. My math skills were a cause for faculty alarm, my ignorance in subjects like “The Causes of the American Revolution” and “Middle English Literature” had teachers tearing out their hair. The only class I was good at was Creative Writing, oh, and ‘Third World Development’. (The teacher kept calling on me for my ‘expert opinions’ on the subject…)
I was there for two years, at the end of which I graduated from the National Cathedral carrying an armful of red roses and wearing an impeccable white dress. From there I progressed to Georgetown University where I spent an inordinate amount of time pretending to ignore obscenely tall and handsome basketball players who were entranced with the idea of ‘scoring’ with a ‘Pacfic Princess.’Ha. ( Go Hoyas!)
Every year since then, I get the school Alumnae magazine. It has updates for every class – people write in chatty little notes about what they’re doing and where they’re doing it. It’s been 19 years since graduation. Most of my classmates are just entering marital bliss. Many have only just started their families. They share pics of their weddings. Their newborns and gorgeous toddlers. I am the only one from my class who is the mother of teenagers. ( Does that mean I had a shocking abhorrence of contraception when I was 20? Or that I was planning ahead and wanted to be footloose and fancy free of kids by the time I was 40? Or maybe it’s a sign of my absolute devotion to children and my overwhelming desire to be a nurturing mother? Hmmm)
I gotta say, that little ole Samoan me, has taken a rather different life path than most of them. Either that, or everyone else is telling whopping big lies about what they’re up to. Because every year, I get to read about my classmates who are…studying for their doctorate degrees in Nuclear Physics…accepting awards willy-nilly for various achievements like finding the cure for cancer, climbing Mt Everest blindfolded, volunteering as doctors in orphanages in furthest Africa and being CEO for billion dollar multinational corporations. Suffice it to say that I have yet to write in MY summary update of my achievements thus far. How do you think it would go if I wrote a little something like this?
Hi everybody! Sorry for the long silence but Ive been a little caught up with 100 ways to entertain a 2 yr old, 101 ways to make gluten-free snacks that DON’T taste like cardboard, 102 ways to spy on a teenage son WITHOUT him realizing that his constitutional rights are being trampled on, 103 ways to prevent a sticky-fingered 7 yr old son from ending up in maximum security prison when he’s 20 and 104 ways to successfully communicate with a moody, hormonal pre-teen daughter. So anyway, some of my achievements? Well, I don’t want to boast or make anyone feel inadequate, but I can make soap from coconut oil! And teach poetry to 13 yr olds – without them wanting to shoot themselves ( or me). I can dissect a fish for homeschool science ( don’t knock it till you try it). Oh yeah and I’ve read Twilight at least 10 times. And I know all the words to all Hannah Montana’s songs. And most of the moves to the Wiggles dance numbers. (Hot potato, hot potato, smashed banana, smashed banana….) and I wobbled along successfully in a 102 km relay which is evidence of my athleticism. I do a spot of writing here and there ( the children want to know when I will write the ‘next Harry Potter’ so THEY can be rich, but I don’t know, isn’t being rich highly overrated?) But I guess I would have to say, that the achievement I’m most proud of is that I’ve been married to the same person for 16 years and I would still pick him over Tom Cruise any day. (Now if Harrison Ford could be magically transformed to his Han Solo days and HE came knocking on my door…well, it might be a bit of a struggle to choose…) Oh and yes, the other achievement is the five children I miraculously gave birth to and still adore. Even after 15 years of being their (slave) mother! Indeed at our 20 year class reunion in 2011, I can come to the Alumnae Ball with a tall, dark and handsome YOUNGER man – my 16 yr old son who’s already taller than me, nearly smarter than me and far too good looking for his own good. He’s very good with children, he’s had lots of experience babysitting since he has four siblings and the youngest is a beastly three year old. He can probably help the rest of the class entertain their babies! I guess that’s about it from me. Im attaching a photo – that’s me sitting in the middle holding the screaming toddler and smiling. Tiredly. And no. Im NOT pregnant. HELL no. If anyone wants to catch up about the good ole days, please call after 11pm. When I will actually be able to carry on a conversation that doesnt involve wrestling feisty 3 yr olds for the phone
Hows that for an alumnae update? Nah. I dont think so. Maybe when the children are all grown up and Im finally rich and famous ( and 30 pounds thinner) – then I’ll have energy to send in MY update. Till then, the children will just keep cutting up the Alumnae Mag for their collage masterpieces.