I can tell you the spot on the floor of the gym where I danced to Electric Avenue with Grace Moniz at my very first high school dance. By the end of the night, I was slow dancing with her to the song True by Spandau Ballet. She was my first real girlfriend and while we didn’t make it much past Grade 11 in our on and off high school dating years, those songs still bring back those teen memories.
So crushing on Grace was me in grade 9 (and 10, and 11, and 12). This past weekend I went back to my high school reunion and the first person I ran into was .. Grace.
The short, shy, Grade 9 person inside me was nervous. The much older, grown up me was .. just as nervous. Things may appear to change, but really they don’t.
It was so good to see her and the entire Class of 87. There were big hugs, lots of smiles, cheers, laughs, and memories. We were a small school, there were only 65 in our graduating class, so everywhere I turned there was a familiar face and everything fell back into place to just how they were 30 years ago.
Part way through the night I found myself at a table by myself between conversations and I took a look around the room and paused.
Nothing had changed.
Everyone, deep down inside, was still exactly the same. The encouraging and positive people were still encouraging and positive, the outgoing people were still outgoing, the laughing pranksters were still laughing pranksters, the articulate and detailed became articulate professionals, the quiet introverts were still quiet introverts.
And because when you’re a parent, everything is about your kids, my mind wandered to my boys. Zacharie is 10 this month, almost a teen, definitely a tween, and I’ve realized the personality he’s developing now is who he will be .. forever.
Introverts stay introverts, extroverts stay extroverts, leaders lead, followers follow.
It was a stunning realization (I’m very slow on the uptake, another thing that’s never changed): our personality is our personality, we may grow up, but the only thing that really changes is our weight, wrinkles, and hair.
The last time I had seen Grace over a decade ago, she was already married with kids and had scolded me, saying I was meant to be a dad, that I was going to be a good dad and that I needed to have children of my own.
I was dating my ex-wife at the time, had an older stepdaughter and had shuffled thoughts of kids out of my mind. 15 years later I’m re-married, a father of two, and loving life having “kids of my own.” Grace was a confident, outgoing, take no shit, in charge person in high school, and she still is.
We are who we are. The look and shape may change, but deep down inside? We are who we are.