My family visited my hometown last week.
Specifically, we traveled there for my high school reunion. Oftentimes, reunions have bad reputations for being stressful, political, depressing or some combination of the above. Whether this reputation is justified or simply a result of bad movie storylines, I'm not sure, but it was not our experience. Our weekend was terrific.
While I expected the fun of seeing old friends, taking pictures and laughing about old stories, I was pleasantly surprised about an added bonus: hearing about my children, through these old friends' eyes.
I think I know my kids, better than anyone. I spend the most time with them. I have the most conversations with them. I do their laundry, for goodness' sake! I love them with all of my heart, but I can also easily identify their faults. I can actually see the meltdowns coming. I know about my son's tendency to complain and my daughter's flair for the dramatic. Unfortunately, with familiarity, comes judgement.
My high school friends knew me well then, and now, but were meeting my children for the first time. Their kind, insightful words were a gentle reminder of the multitude of good qualities to be found in my own family circle.
Heard about my children, who were, just prior to the party, lucky not to be strapped in the car and left in the parking lot:
"I am so impressed! He shook my hand and introduced himself. Not many six-year-olds will do that."
"She lights up the room!"
"I want to bottle up those smiling chubby cheeks and take them home with me."
"I just had a whole conversation with him about baseball and catching frogs. What a treat."
"You are so lucky! Look at them!"
It seems that my family's first impressions are good ones, not the temper-tantrum, whining, complaining, nothing's-ever-good-enough impressions that I have been the most observant of these days.
My best friend even said the best thing about my husband: "I love the way he smiles when he talks about you."
It was fabulous to see the three of them, through someone else's eyes. I'll remember to see them in that way, too.