In the memory recesses of my mind, there is a house. A house I never grew up in, but I know so well.
I can see how it’s situated on the block, the way the balcony overhangs the pool, leading to the question ‘could we jump safely from there?’ and the black dog that greets me at the screen door.
It’s not a flash house, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact its main feature is a huge living room, with multiple couches that don’t even face toward the TV.
And it’s on these couches I find my friends.
My best friends.
Boys, all of them. Some might have said men, which they surely are now, but back then, simply boys.
There’s Chris, the dreamer. Always with a bass guitar on his lap, slapping at the strings as the conversation flows.
Phil, the hero. Lounging on the couch and telling stupid stories; making Chris laugh like no one in the world can.
And Garry, the mover. Standing awkwardly, laughing at the jokes and adding his own.
I watch these three, my friends. Some days bored out of my brain, other days perfectly content.
When they have their instruments out, I am their groupie and lyricist.
When we play theatre sports, I am the requisite X chromosome.
When they are being boys and generally rowdy, I (on occassion), am the voice of reason.
They were stars of the show, and I was the token female.
The girl next door.
And that was completely ok.
For my year 12 English portfolio, I wrote a piece about sitting on that couch, and wondering what would come for my friends. When we’re young we think we will have it all, and do it all, and we are certain we will follow our dreams.
I’ve been thinking about that composition these last few days. Thinking how our lives are different, and yet, how some things still stay the same.
Garry, is now Uncle Garry to my children. I called him the mover, because he has always done what he set out to do. He finished his degree, did the requisite trip around Europe, and then came home and settled in to a job that has nothing to do with what he studied.
He’s going to teach my kiddies how to play the keyboard, and they dearly love him.
Uncle Phil did not become a veterinary missionary in a remote African village. Rather he go married, started a family and is a teacher in remote Arnhem land.
Which is maybe kind of the same thing.
In school it was Phil who I was the least close to, and yet now we have the most in common.
It helps that I adore his wife 🙂
Who knew what Chris would be? I don’t think he ever did.
He moved to NZ to meet his mother and also met his wife.
He is now an actual rock star in a world touring New Zealand band, called SixSixty, and is planning to move to New York.
Which brings me to me.
As it turns out, I am still sitting on the couch.
Watching, thinking, wondering.
I would have been the very last one anyone in my school expected to become pregnant at 19, and yet I was the very first to give birth.
Married at 22, then three more babies followed. No mortgage to speak of, just a rental property, a nice car and a boat.
My day is filled with washing towels and picking up random objects off the floor.
Sitting on a couch waiting for the moment when my life begins.
They always told me that life was a great adventure, and for some it must be.
For the three boys, now men; they have done more than I have. They have travelled and studied, and grown and made life decisions.
They have moved beyond Darwin and even though they have almost all come back, it’s because it was the choice they made.
When I left school I was going to go to Switzerland. To join Youth With A Mission and go and tell the whole world about Jesus.
I let someone talk me out of that, and barely 18 months later I was single, barefoot and pregnant, which, according to Garry, is what always happens to the girl next door.
I wonder, how my life would be different, if I, like them, had followed my dream and not let others rob me of it.
Would I still have met Boatman? Would we have our babies?
I like to think so.
I like to believe that some things will always happen, because they are just meant to.
It’s been 12 years this year, since we finished school and went our separate ways, only to join up again on many occasions.
12 years, and I’m still sitting on the couch.
Pondering about the great adventure, when it starts, and if I’m somehow missing out.
Hoping I’ll be more than this: A stay at home mum with a blog and a bunch of Apple accessories.
Praying that even though I haven’t gone and told the whole world about Jesus, maybe my life can count for something, and I can be more than this.
Just Jess. Sitting on a couch.
Then I remember.
I was the groupie for their high school band.
I was the one who put bags of frozen wedges in the oven when it was time to eat.
I was the one who wrote Chris’ assignments (even for subjects I never took.)
Who defended Garry when others thought he was a little odd.
Who made Phil blueberry pie, just because he liked it.
Not much of anything, but always willing to help others. To make them great.
Where is the adventure?
In raising the little people, to be extraordinary humans.
In wondering, and evaluating, and trying each day to be the best me I can be. Doing my best to Shine.
In IBOT. In a community that encourages and puts other bloggers first.
And I can do all those things.