“Family” (quotation marks intended)

As I grow older I am discovering something about myself.  I do not know if it is unique to me, or to my circumstances, but I did noticed a recent indication that this is something that it may not be so unique just to me.  


I attended a relatively small Catholic Elementary / Junior High school from Kindergarten through eighth grade.  Nativity of Mary in Bloomington, Minnesota (although I switched from St. Kevin’s to Nativity in 3rd grade). After 8thgrade, I attended the Academy of the Holy Angles in Richfield, Minnesota (a Catholic High School also considered small compared to the public school alternatives) along with a large number of the kids I grew up at Nativity with.

As with most kids, we all had our “groups” that we spent most of our time with, and groups we did not socialize with as much.  As we progressed on to  high school some of us went in different directions (attending different High Schools), but those that continued on together adjusted, expanded, and morphed our relationships with each other.

I fell into what I would consider the “leftover group”.  We did not fall into any of the typical categories (athletic, artistic, popular, etc) and so by default we bonded into our own makeshift “hobo-group”.  I found that even through High School these groups did not intermingle much but overall we got along pretty well.

As the saying goes…  Time and tide wait for no man.  We all graduated, and moved on – college, careers, family, jail, whatever.  Friendships and relationships again adjusted, expanded (or shrank), and morphed into something different.

Career and family followed college for me.  I am now a fully vested family man (ahem… “Father of Five).  My time is spent working, and maintaining my home and family.  Somewhere around ten years ago or so I came to the realization that that through this life as a father of five, I had lost contact with all but a few of the friends I have made through the years.  Admittedly, it was a little depressing to ponder, but it was my life.  I have since learned to accept it, and adjust.  Friendships are a luxury at this point – a luxury that comes at the cost of career or family.

Then along came Facebook.  Suddenly, I started noticing old friends and classmates that I had not spoken to for years – some even decades – popping up here and there.  Facebook has made searching and finding old friends easy, and made connecting with those old friends even easier!  Sure, there are those folks that I did not have a lot of interaction with, and that I still don’t – but it’s still nice getting a little snapshot of what life is like outside the walls of my work and family, and with old friends I would not normally hear from.


Very recently, one of those friends (from both Nativity and Holy Angels) experienced a tragedy.  She unexpectedly lost a parent.  This friend is one of the classmates that I was a little more closer with, and have kept in touch with from time to time throughout the years.  Besides our shared scholarly tenure, we have an extended connection through church and my work  (her family had a significant involvement in the Bloomington Volunteer Rescue Squad, along with having taught several police officers, firefighters and EMTs.)

This classmate shared her loss on Facebook.  As I read through the sympathetic comments left for her, I noticed a large number of classmates from both Nativity and Holy Angels.  It was there that I stumbled upon one comment in particular that truly caught my attention.

 

“…I feel like all my Nativity friends are more like close cousins.  Therefore, I’m sure your collective family feels this and sends you a virtual hug…”

                                                                                -Mike Burns

That was it!  Wise words indeed Mike!

Nativity of Mary Bloomington Minnesota 1983 There have been many people in my life.  Yet, as I travel backwards, I see that “pool” get smaller and smaller.  From the thousands of industry, peer, and co-workers I deal with now, to the anonymity of College, to my high school class of less than 150, down to the roughly 50 kids I went to elementary and junior high with.  Many whom I still have contact with.

I don’t know how many other (or if any) of my classmates from Nativity feel the same way, but from my perspective - good, bad, or otherwise, this small group of people were such a big part of so many of my formative developmental years and we shared so many experiences that even now (28 years later) that whenever I have contact with one of my old classmates, I DO feel a different sort of connection and bond with them.  It DOES feel almost like a small family.

If you are one of my old Nativity classmates, I’d like to wrap this up with a special message for each and every one of you.  Whether you were one of my closest friends, part of the other groups I had less contact with, or somewhere in between - I look back at my time with you and at Nativity with great fondness.  Sure, growing up is not without its ups and downs, but what life experience isn’t?  

So… I am sending out my most sincere “thank you” to each and every one of you for being part of that family.

5 comments:

  1. Heya cool! i forwarded to the Principal of Nativity

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  2. Wow, cool post!

    I'm a product of public school, but I would have fit the "leftover/hobo group" category, as well. Strangely enough, I have deliberately avoided nearly all school mates on Facebook. I had one best bud from kindergarten through graduation, and he isn't on fb. I don't talk to him nearly as much as I should, but he still lives locally and I'd do just about anything for him, and he me. Outside of that, I feel like I wasn't really freinds with too many others 25 years ago, why start now. I was a bit of a loaner. I think there must be something to the smaller class size.

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  3. I have tried to explain this to my better half many, many times. He being a product of a LARGE public school, graduated more than 700 in his class, never understood how I could talk for HOURS with someone I went to grade school with and haven't seen in over a decade. You know, I too am a product of a small catholic grade school and a small high school I wouldn't change it for anything! They are always the first in line when I need someone or something. Family for sure.

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  4. I felt compelled to look up this entry today and read it again. I have felt so much support from my Nativity family. Last night, getting together with a group of this "family" was exactly what I needed. I enjoyed talking with you, Thanks for coming!

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  5. Hold tight Cindy! I have a follow up coming soon!!

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