My son attends school at the synagogue that I was bar-mitzvahed at. It is a very large shul, there are somewhere around 1700 families. My family has been associated with this particular shul for around three or four decades now. I attended their Hebrew School and youth programs as did all of my sisters.
In short, I may not know everyone, but I know many people and they know me. When I walk my son to class I see the girl I had a crush on in high school, the one I dated in junior high, the girl who kissed me behind the building and the one who did more than that on the overnight.
I see the father who went to the rival high school. We still look at each other as if we are standing on the Western Front. I see the father who dated my high school love after we broke up and I am glad to see that he looks like he is in his 50s, he is only 35. It is not nice, but it is true.
I see the parents of these people and run into the mother of the boy whose house I egged, the uncle of the boy who died in a car crash, the younger sister of my sister’s friend. When did she grow up to be so hot.
I see these people and I know that just as I remember these things so do they. Sometimes we stop and talk about nothing. We make small talk about our children and our lives and I feel a little strange. Why am I uncomfortable? It must be the small talk.
The former boyfriend of my ex wants to know if I ever speak with her. Is he testing me, what is the purpose and why is he asking me these questions. I make up some silly answers just to see if he knows what is going on.
I look around and I think about all of the experiences I have had and how the memories of those experiences not only make me who I am, but impact how people treat me and wonder if this will be passed onto my children.
Most of these experiences are harmless and there is little to no reason why anyone would feel badly, but there are a few here and there. I was impulsive, active, stubborn, and foolish. I knew more than you did about everything and was not afraid to tell you. I was young and dumb and I made mistakes, but I did a lot of good things to.
Will my children be allowed to make their own names for themselves?