The church I serve is planning a big event for November 3rd of this year – a fundraiser we are calling the “Retro-Prom.” A 60’s, 70’s and 80’s event – complete with decorations, dancing and food. Guests are encouraged to dress as they would have for the time of their own high school prom. This will, of course, require shopping on my part because – not only do I not have my prom dress, but if I did have it, it would only fit the lower part of my left calf and it just would NOT be appropriate for me to show up at the church dressed that way.
So now, I will start a search for 80’s wear- and I will laugh my way through a gazillion Ebay listings, thrift store racks and yard sales. I’m hoping to find something in a hot-pink, loud, crinkly acetate with an impossibly big bow – off the shoulders, if possible. And while I’m looking, I’ll spend some time in the past and ask myself, in the words of the 80’s band the Talking Heads, “How did I get here?”
This was not my plan in the 80’s. This life I’m living was not even in the deepest recesses of 17-year-old Jen’s imagination. Famous Hollywood actress? - Possibly. Kindergarten teacher – more likely. Stay-at-home mom to two kids? – wasn’t that a piece of the plan at one point. And yet, here I am – full time working mom to one amazing kid. Senior pastor of a Congregational Church. (Clergy? Me??? REALLY?) Married to a guy I met at the University on a blind date. Living in a small town I never knew existed. Performing Stand-up comedy around the country (ok- that part- 17-year-old-Jen would enjoy!)
All things considered – this is a great life I’ve got going on. Unexpected – sure. Contains moments of abject pain and despair – sure (show me someone who can get to 43 without ‘em.) Open enough to hold all the love and laughter and memories I’ve accumulated since high school? - yup.
When I’m getting my picture taken I usually joke with the photographer to make sure she gets my “good side” which I then inform her is located in 1987. I don’t think I’ll make that joke anymore. My best side is right here, right now.