Around high school graduation, everybody clings to each other for a few weeks. Then, as unimaginable as it may have once seemed, we slowly drift in our own directions. At first, everyone comes home for Christmas, and get-togethers are planned. Or if you’re in a small city like Boise, you inevitably run into them or their parents at the mall while everyone’s out shopping. Or maybe you’d bump into them in the hallways at your high school when you go back to visit a teacher or two.
But as the years pass, the hometown loses that center of gravity that pulled everyone back in a few times a year. Whereas you once at least drifted in the same orbit around that spot you all still called “home,” your lives slowly turn to revolve around other things. Holidays at home become infrequent, jobs pluck whole families up and lift them across continents and oceans, children are born, ties to other friendships and cities are made. And while life and change are exciting, there’s nothing like spending time with people you grew up around. The people who saw you when you were all braces and glasses, who sang next to you on creaky auditorium risers, who can finish your sentence when you say “Remember how Mr. T used to get so mad when _______.” It’s a quiet loss of adulthood no one really warns you about.
Thus, it was an uncommon pleasure to land in Baltimore and, within a few months, find myself sitting across a restaurant table from Chad and Becky just a few miles south near DC. Two fellow Borah graduates (go Lions!) and choir friends (of the Branton/Totorica years) whom I haven’t seen since we all scattered across the globe. Only this time we were a party of four – with their bright-eyed daughter smiling up from her car seat, simultaneously charming me while trying to steal daddy’s napkin.
After lunch, we wandered through the fall colors in Fort Ward Park. They snuggled and bundled and held their little one high in the air. She’s as in love with her parents as they are with her. And I couldn’t help but think how lucky she was to have these two strong, amazing people looking after her. And though we might have been 2,385 miles away from Boise, I felt for a few hours like I had gone home.
Chad and Becky, thank you so much for an incredible afternoon. I absolutely loved seeing you and the life you’re building for yourselves – one positively littered with accomplishments and love. I think I will cherish these images just as much as I hope you do.