Saturday, June 13, 2015

Strawberry Jam

This evening was another party - this time for the Amazing Audrey.  It's so cool to realize how small the community is when the annual graduation parties begin to happen, as I realize how close everyone is, and how many common interests gifted kids seem to have.  I've spent the last two graduation parties chatting with the long distance running coach, who shares many of my kids.

So yes, common interests.  Case in point - running.  Now, honestly, if you were to see me running, you should look very carefully behind me to see what is chasing me, because it is not something I do, or even should do, given my bionic knee.  But many gifted kids are members of both the cross country and track teams, and use their time on those teams to think, share ideas, and well, sort their lives out.  Some of these kids are incredible extroverts, while others are incredibly quiet.

Two years ago, Audrey, and her two friends, Michaela and Jenna, formed their very own small "band" as part of their TDO.  They called themselves Strawberry Jam - using the initials from their names to create the name -- and they "Jammed" once a cycle in a practice room in the music wing, each focusing a bit on an instrument that they wanted to become a bit more proficient at playing.  With two of the three band members claiming the title of INTROVERT, I truly wondered about the long-term success of their plan.

Of course they did an admirable job.  Why would I expect any less than perfection from three girls who have perfection goals as part of their genetic makeup?  But more than that, they solidified an already solid bond of friendship that will follow them to the far-reaching corners of Bridgewater College, William and Mary, and Williams, when they head off to college in the fall.

When I see friendships like these, I flash back to 1979, and my own graduation.  My mother point blank said that I'd find other friends in college, and leave behind the high school friends.  Now, honestly, my mother is rarely wrong, but she was certainly mistaken on this count.  The core group has hung together, cried together, laughed together, baptized and married children together, and has already stood graveside mourning the loss of one of us. 

Last weekend, I celebrated with Mary, as her daughter, Rosemary was married.  While at the wedding, we solidified the plans for a high school girls' getaway weekend this fall.  Today, I received notice of the recipient of the scholarship named for Amy, our friend who succumbed to appendix cancer 14 months ago.  Facebook has reconnected many of my group of high school friends, closing gaps in both time and distance.
 
High school roots go deep, and those friendships are there for a lifetime, if you choose to make it so.  I suspect that while Audrey's running and training with the ROTC at William and Mary, she'll think about Michaela and Jenna, and that Jenna will smile and send a text when she grabs toast in the  dining hall at Bridgewater, spreading some strawberry jam.  Michaela will realize that even though she's an only child, she has sisters at her beck and call.  

Because teachers can think they know what happens between friends, but the reality is that all we really know is that we pray that our students find friends in high school that will carry memories, smiles, tears, and music, to the far reaches of their lives, and when they come back together, they'll talk as if they hadn't talked since yesterday.

Because that's what friends do.  Whether they're in a JAM or not!