A Melancholy Moment: Flashback to High School

I have three teenage daughters and as they face the challenges inherent in being teenagers, I seem to be reliving those times in my own life.  My eldest is a rising senior and as she looks with anticipation toward college and a very bright future, I feel her anxiety.  Will she get into the college of her choice? What will she major in?  Will she miss her high school friends. Will she be able to make new friends in college?  The future is full of possibilities and uncertainty, hope and fear, promise and possible disappointments.  I remember it like it was yesterday.

My younger two daughters are still in the midst of being teenage girls with all the challenges of maintaining healthy friendships.  As I think back to high school and all the cattiness that was just a part of growing up, I can relate to the stories of discord that they share.  Of course I am sure every mother sees her daughter as the victim, the one who is just misunderstood.  I am sure my girls are not the sweet, innocent, bystanders I make them out to be.  None of us would ever want to admit our children are the perpetrators behind the unkind behavior.  But, as I feel their pain of being the victim, I also remember the times I was the one causing the pain.

I grew up in a very small town.  I had pretty much the same grouping of friends from the day I was born until the day I graduated High School.  Yes, that is us above at our junior prom.  We all just moved through the years from one clique to the next.  I eventually landed in the “brainy/semi-popular” clique.  I was friends with the cheerleaders and the Homecoming queen but I was never center stage.  I learned early on that drama seemed to be directed toward whoever was in the middle of circle and being on the periphery was preferable.

While I truly had little to do with all the drama, I did do some things I am ashamed of to this day.  Like the time I stood by while one friend beat another friend, or the time I shared gossip about a friend that was ugly and hurtful.  Those times I was untrue to a friend still haunt me nearly 30 years later.  I am sure the friends I hurt have long ago forgiven and forgotten about the incident, yet I have not.  Anytime we are untrue to who we truly are, we injure ourselves more than we injure those our behavior was directed at.

So here it goes – Beth, Heather, Kristi, Jill, Marion, Connie, Brenda, Sandy, and our sweet departed sister Janet: I am sorry.  I am sorry for not being the friend you deserved in high school.  I am sorry for any gossip I repeated.  I am sorry for any opportunity I had to defend you and did not.  I am sorry that I cared more about fitting in than I did about being a faithful friend.  It is with tears streaming down my face that I say “Please, forgive me.”  I was blessed to have you all as friends.  Of course there were many other wonderful girls and a few boys whom I had the privilege of calling friends through the years but the nine of you impacted me more than any others.

As I listened to my girls share their friendship woes this week, I realized that many of their challenges would be solved if they or their friends would simply learn to say “I’m sorry.”  I know through the years, I have been a lousy role model in this department.  I am stubborn, selfish and prideful – diseases that are prevalent in our society.  So, I wonder what would happen if all the adults started modeling humility, grace and forgiveness.  Could we change the teen culture?  I know, that is a stretch but you all know I am dreamer.

Hope you all have a good weekend and that you spend it with good friends and if you have a chance, you might want to reach out and say “I am sorry” even if it is 30 years too late.

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10 Comments

Filed under Personal Reflection, Stories from the Street

10 responses to “A Melancholy Moment: Flashback to High School

  1. Heather

    Wendy,

    I don’t know what you are talking about. You were always such a great friend to me. I laughed to see the “brainy/semi popular” – that was us. We were the “what did you make on your trig test” group. BTW, I must have been absent or oblivious the day two of our friends (don’t know who?) were in a fight.

    It is important to( but hard) to say “I’m sorry” at any age. We were all young and immature in high school but we would do anything for each other. None of us are perfect. We (living in a small town) all had a bond that few kids growing up had. We knew each other so well it was like a big group of siblings. And as you know, siblings love each other but also get on each others nerves and fight.

    I would not give up growing up in Lampasas for anything. And most of all I am glad you were and are my friend.

    Love,
    Heather

    • wmccaig

      Thanks Heather,

      I actually think the fight might have been our eight grade year but of course my memory is not what it used to be. I think you are right, we were more like siblings. While I hated growing up in Lampasas when I was young, I actually wish my kids could experience what we had growing up. Thanks for your comment my “brainy” friend!

  2. Kris

    Nice chatting with you about this, Wendy, and as I said, just today I was discussing with an aunt how some of the daughters are now going through the same things we did at their age. It can be pretty awful- and quite memorable- to be on the receiving end of the drama. So I’m still embarassed that I didn’t stand up to it and refuse to participate in doing the same thing to whoever the next poor target was. But we were all young, self-conscious, overdramatic, silly girls and life would be sad if we were all judged only by the things we said or did in school.
    Your apology is so eloquent and so appreciated. All I can say is..me too!! There are too many good memories…like Girl Scouts, basketball, Storm’s, and cruising Key, to let some foolish behavior override. I am proud of our friends and of our class and of the people we have all become. 🙂

  3. Beth

    Wendy,

    I cried reading your post. I did some awful things in high school that I am ashamed of to this day. I have many regrets. But looking back, I wonder if all of those things help me grow into the person I am today. I can tell my child that I know what he’s going through and recall the good and bad memories that relate to a particular situation he’s in.

    You were a wonderful friend and I am so proud of what you have accomplished in your life. You should have no regrets. Whatever you did in your life early on shaped you into a beautiful person inside and out.

    BTW, the fight was in 9th grade and I hold NO animosity 🙂

    • wmccaig

      Beth,

      Thanks, I still regret that night. We really were a pretty dysfunctional group of kids. I guess we all started out that way and by the grace of God, we did eventually grow up. Really wish there was a way of protecting our kids from all that drama!

  4. Heather

    Guys,

    I am still don’t know the fight you all are talking about. I must have been at home being a nerd – sewing or studying. Could someone please clue me in.

    Or was I in the fight and got brain damage and can’t remember. LOL

    Heather

    • wmccaig

      No, you were not there. I will let Beth tell the story if she wants. It was just your typical stupid punk kid stuff but I got sucked into it and did not even realize what was going down until it was too late.

  5. Beth

    OK. I was home BABYSITTING and a herd of girls pulled up in Brenda’s car. Connie was ticked that I was going to the prom with her boyfriend. We had made plans prior to them dating. Anyway, she called me out on the porch and starting wailing on me. I didn’t even fight back. Most of the girls freaked out and ran off to the neighbors house. No one came to my defense. 😦 But I survived. Looking back it wasnt that big of a deal, but boy was it high drama then! It all turned out ok. Terri found her in town and beat her up later that night. Weren’t we classy?

    • wmccaig

      My girls think they have it bad…nothing is worse than small town drama. Wish I would have stayed home and been a “nerd” with Heather. I think that night was a turning point for me. I don’t think I ever got into the Brenda’s car ever again. Still can’t figure out how I ended up there and not with Chris where it was safe.

  6. Heather

    Beth, bless your heart. If I could reach through this computer and give you a hug that is 29 years overdue, I would. I still have no recollection of this event. Can you say “clue-less”.

    I think it isn’t just small town but everywhere. You see things on the news these days that are very disturbing when it comes to teens. Since my oldest is 14, I am starting to get really scared about what is coming down the pike for her.

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