Familiar and safe. Foreign and strange.


Proof that we danced.
MNMeditations Instagram photo

I kicked summer off on Saturday at my college roommate’s wedding.

Five years ago, we roomed together. Five girls. Junior year. In that amazing apartment. The end unit on the third floor. With three bedrooms and two baths. Laundry in the apartment. And that big, roomy kitchen where we jammed out to music, popped popcorn, and talked for hours.

And every time we get together, we reminisce. On those crazy late-nights and rushed early mornings.

A time before weddings and babies and real-life jobs.

The bridal showers and parties leading up to the big day were full of laughs. All of the roommates were there. Catching up on life. Filling one another in on our journeys post-college.

Then came the wedding day. A cool, rainy day. A beautiful day for our roommate and friend.

The ceremony was filled with love, humor, and the melding of two becoming one.

The couple was announced as the new Mr. and Mrs. and the family and friends in attendance clapped in approval.

We hugged the Bride and Groom and mingled in the lobby of the church. Old friends were found. Names were re-stated. Memories jogged on college majors and connections to the Bride.

During a bathroom break, I found one of my former roommates. We washed our hands, hugged and headed back in the lobby where we found her husband. Though I’d seen his wife (my roommate) many times since college, our own run-ins could be counted on one hand with fingers to spare. And back in college. I met him before I met her. Freshman orientation. I leaned forward to pick my backpack up off the floor in a lecture hall and banged my head on the seat in front of me. And he was there to witness the whole thing.

We chatted, sipped punch, and munched on a blend of salty and sweet snacks available for guests to crunch on before trekking north to the reception.

At the reception, we squealed in delight over the treat boxes sitting at our place settings and devoured the candy like little kids. Trading “banana laffy taffy for your air head,” and passing on the bright blue Jolly Rancher as to avoid a blue mouth and tongue.

With sugar buzzing in our brains, we caught up even more. Talked about the last four years. Our adult years. Years that we have been apart. Years that have been full of adventure, frustrations, and pure bliss. Stories were swapped. Moments were mentioned. We laughed over where life has brought us – the hoops we’ve jumped through, the trials we’ve faced, and the joys we’ve lived. And in those conversations, four years felt like forty. For we are older. Wiser. Not fully there, but further than ever. In this journey of adulthood we were thrown into the minute we accepted that diploma.

For entertainment, a photo-booth of sorts was set up for guests to ham-it up for the camera. And we took full advantage of the props and photo ops. Smiling and grinning like little school girls. Feeling more like our college roommate days – taking first day of school and Christmas pics – making ridiculous faces, and yelling out, “wait, I wasn’t ready! Take it again!”

A roommate (a bridesmaid in the wedding festivities) stopped by our table with her baby. I had joked with her at a bridal shower that her child didn’t really exist because I had never met him. So, she made sure that I knew he was real. Real cute! The spitting image of his dad, my other two roommates and I ooohed and cooed at his cuteness. Shaking our heads that one of our roommates has a kid.

After a lovely dinner, we anxiously awaited the cake part of the night. One of the roommates sitting at my table was a personal attendant and we begged her to tell us about the cake (flavor, number of slices, frosting, etc). Finally, when the deejay announced it was time for cake we practically jumped from our seats, pushing small children and old ladies out of our way for a slice of chocolatey goodness and soft-serve ice cream (hello, yum!).

Since dancing was next on the agenda, we soon realized the error of our ways – first the candy pre-dinner, dinner, and then cake and ice cream. My time on the dance floor was short-lived, I took a heel to the foot during the Electric Slide (I was severely out of sync) and decided I better call it quits before I required medical attention. But the time spent dancing and cutting loose, footloose, was just one of many highlights from the night.

For the biggest highlight was just being there. Being surrounded by friends from the past. Living lives that are nothing like our college days. A time in our life that seems like forever ago. Foreign and strange.

For the biggest realization was that we grew up. Being surrounded by friends from the past. Living lives that are far beyond what we thought they would be when we donned our caps and gowns. The days we are living now are here and real. Foreign and strange.

Because those college days, back in the day, are days that are still familiar and safe.

But life isn’t about familiarity and safety. And so, we push on. And in another four years, we will have grown even more. Because with every new phase that is foreign and strange, we find ways to make them familiar and safe until they are too familiar, too safe.

But in the moments that life re-unites us, we will always remember the familiar and the safe and long for its embrace. Even if it is just one night. At a roommate’s wedding. Kicking off summer.

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