We left Grammy’s house and headed back to Nana’s, but we had plenty of time to kill before we needed to be there. When I got near the exit Matt and I used hundreds of times in our college years to visit one another I asked the boys if they wanted to see the house in which I was raised. They were all in, which sort of surprised me. Their enthusiasm made me wish I could remember the location of the single-wide I lived in when I was in Kindergarten and First Grade. Some of my earliest memories are events that occurred while my family lived on that street. However, I had no idea where in Charlotte that street was, and my parents were both working and I didn’t want to disturb them. I was content to show the kids my home church and the house in which I spent most of my growing-up years.
I exited only to find that major changes had been made in the roads and I was brought to a T-intersection. I have a rule… when in doubt, turn right. So, I did. I had no idea where I was so I asked Siri to find “Hickory Grove Baptist Church” and start directions. Her instructions were to turn left at the next light and I trustingly obeyed. Within milliseconds a flood of recognition washed over me and I started repeating, “NO WAY!” The boys were curious as to what was making me sound so shocked and it took me a moment to gather my thoughts in order to catch them up on what I explained in the first paragraph: “Only five minutes ago I was wishing I could take you to the place I lived when I was in Kindergarten and First Grade. I had no idea how to find that place so I let the idea go. When I got off the interstate and the roads rerouted me, I asked Siri for directions to my church, which is one mile from where I grew up. Her first instruction was to turn left here… now that we’re here I recognize this as the neighborhood in which my family lived when I was five and six!” We proceeded to my former street and we slowly drove up the hill, snapping pictures discretely. I still could not believe that I was there… It was incredulous that a freak circumstance directed us STRAIGHT TO IT.
This is not the actual single-wide but this is the lot. I remember being angry that I didn’t learn to read on my first day of Kindergarten. I felt like my mom had lied to me whens she said I’d learn to read “when I went to school” and that the school had not done its job. I remember my dad wrapping a piece of jewelry up in a refrigerator box to trick my mom and having a BLAST with that box after the gift-giving was over. I remember learning to ride my bike on that road. I remember my mom cutting her knee open and needing stitches. That was traumatic. I remember falling out of the top bunk and biting my tongue which bled like the dickens. (Or was that Josh?) I remember sticking a fork or some other metal object in a socket in our bedroom and getting shocked. (Or was that Josh?) I remember walking through the sliding-glass door and busting my face; the glass didn’t break but it was not a fun experience. (Or was that Josh?) As you can tell, memories at that age are blurry and are often a conglomeration of the stories having been told over the years.
I told a few of my stories from that era and then we followed Siri’s directions to the church. I pulled into the parking lot and shared some stories from when I was a tiny one. I remember being in the nursery and one of my teachers singing, “Elvira” to us. I remember sitting in the baby-doll crib. I remember snack time; guessing my age at that time was about three. I told the boys stories about when we broke ground on the “new” sanctuary and how we had huge ropes attached to a bulldozer. All the church members pulled on the ropes to pull the bulldozer, thus ‘breaking ground’ together. I’d say a good 50% of my memories from age 3-18 were tied, in some way, to that church. All great memories.
I retold the story of how Matt proposed to me in the parking lot and about our wedding there. Good times.
From there we made the long trek (1 mile) to the house in which I was raised. It was red when I lived there, and the yard was a bit more manicured. My bedroom window was the far right one.
Most of my childhood memories were made while we lived in this house. I pointed out that my kids won’t have the same kind of story that I have: I can take them to “the house I was raised in” while they will have to tell their kids about the time they lived in Colorado, or the times they lived in South Carolina or Germany, or that one really long season of life they lived 4.5 years in Texas. Neither of our stories is better than the other… just different.
From there, since we had still more time, I took them to my high school. In years past, none of my kids would have cared about this part of my life but now we have two high schoolers, and one more to join them next year. I parked in my old parking space and told them a few of my most memorable moments. (To be honest, most of my high-school memories were either at church or traveling back and forth to see Matt!) I loved my weight-lifting class; I had the best biology teacher in the world; My homeroom teacher rocked. My International Studies education was unique to our school and I’m thankful I was a part of that program.
And with that my drive down memory lane was over. Sort of. Our next stop was to Concord Mills, which wasn’t built until I was in college or round-about, but I do have very sweet memories of taking the three bigs there when they were babies. I remember the thrill of pushing my first baby in his stroller around the mall, ecstatic that I had finally joined the coveted mom-club. I loved everything about it… the nursing room, the diaper bags, the stroller, the feeling that I had finally reached the point in life where I was doing what I was put on this planet to do. I sit here in a Starbucks in Texas amazed that I have now had this incredible blessing five times over; that the first baby I pushed around with such pride is now a sophomore in high school; that he’s approaching the age Matt and I were when we met one another. I have had that same sense of pride with each baby. With the third was added to the mix I felt like a circus-show at times… people wondered how I got around. I didn’t have a triple-stroller but used my double and carried Bailey. I got asked every time Carson and Bailey were in the stroller if they were twins. Nope. I didn’t get a two-for… I had 18 months of pregnancy to enjoy those two.
After spending a while in the mall we headed back to Nana’s. We weren’t going to be there long, as we were to leave the next day for Virginia. We were there to ride a few four-wheelers, clean the car out (again), wash clothes, and pack up. The trip had officially hit its whirl-wind phase.
In the last post I said that this post would include pictures of our visit with Mama Kim but the walk down memory lane was too fun to leave out. (Fun for me, even if not everyone agrees.) One of these posts will be about our time in Virginia! We had an amazing time!