April 6, 2014: A Reunion of Sorts

St Wenceslaus parking lot. Note Grant to the right, but no Ben.
Today I enjoyed a pleasant surprise. With a weekend calendar full of prom and lacrosse activities, I barely noticed the Sunday entry for a Senior mass at church. The event was a mere afterthought.

Ben, along with his former St. Wenceslaus classmates, joined together to celebrate mass and then enjoy a dinner in the school cafeteria. This was the first of their last hurrah's before they graduate.

The last time this crew was together in this cafeteria was their 8th grade dance. Four quick year later, they were reunited again. Parents included. Our awkward 8th graders are now all grown up. Instead of chaperoning a dance under bright florescent lights with group dancing, the parents caught up on life. Some I have seen frequently since that last 8th grade event and others, not at all.

As I enjoyed the hugs and company of the many kids and parents, my heart warmed. From stories of kindergarten programs gone wrong to antics during baseball games, we laughed and broke bread. Our discussions have changed drastically in these four years that have elapsed.

Rather than talk about how ready we were to move our kids on to high school, we instead shared college plans. Although there was anticipation in these conversations, there was also a bit a nostalgic sadness. We have come a long way since the day we sat in this same cafeteria for kindergarten round-up. A long, but happy journey.

It took two phone messages from the Ladies Guild before I was prompted to respond to this invite. I thought Ben wouldn't want to go since it was the day after his prom. With my lateness in responding, I initially decided to blow it off. Only as an afterthought did I decide to run it by Ben. Via text, he enthusiastically wanted to attend. An RSVP was sent and an entry to the calendar added.

Ben's enthusiasm carried through from the minute we walked into the church door. I didn't see Ben for most of the night. He reunited with his grade school buddies immediately. They sat together during mass and ate their pasta dinner side-by-side. Boys that separated as they went off to high school had come full circle and were back together again. Like the four year passage of time had never happened.

And then in true Ben fashion, we lost him. The kids gathered as the parents mobbed together snapping pictures on their iPhones. But I couldn't find Ben in the crowd of high schoolers. I scanned the crowd face by face. No Ben.

A phone call from my iPhone revealed Ben's whereabouts. A few of the kids left to walk to one of the boy's houses located in the neighborhood adjacent to the school. Just like old times.

"I'll be home later, Mom!" were the last words I heard from Ben with the muffle of boys' laughter in the background.

With a gorgeous sunset in the background, Garrett and I walked out of the church with only Grant at our side. As I watched my current 8th Grader slide down the handrail, I smiled with the thought of our return for his Senior reunion. I won't hesitate at this invite the next go-around.


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