Tuesday, January 29, 2013

14 Years Ago Today

14 years ago today, we packed up our little purple Saturn, put a 14 month old Conner in his car seat and set off up the 99 to Visalia,Ca. Marty and I both grew up in Southern California and never had lived outside of  the area. At the urging of my sister Kim, we decided to pack up and move to live closer to her. I had always wanted to move to Visalia. Growing up we came here often to visit our beloved great aunt Pat and her family. I had spent many summers here and always wanted to be closer to her.

With our new found faith, we took the leap and moved away. We left our family and jobs behind to see if we could build a life of our own. The internet was in its infancy, very few people had email, cell phones were a luxury item and we had no friends in the area. I cried every day for a year, I was so lonely leaving my friends, I made many teary calls home to my Grandma's and mother. We had to live with my sister and that turned into a nightmare three days in. We were twenty two years old and had a lot of life lessons to learn, some I really don't treasure but am grateful for every single one.

Our first family picture on the St.John's parkway January 1999

We found jobs after three very long months, lost a baby, and got our very first apartment that June. It was a very, very hard move. Not something that I look back on with particular fondness to tell you the truth. I remember the day my Disneyland friends came to visit giving me a much needed boost. I slowly started getting to know people at work and church. Life was hard but we were making a way.

I got pregnant with Elizabeth half way into that first year. She was born in here and  has lived here her entire life.  We moved in and out of houses, left jobs, started new jobs. Made many,many friends who helped us out along the way.

Our now family of three on our first trip to the Sequoia's

Marty went back to school, gained a career. I had many great friends and eventually we made our first goal of me being a stay at home mom. We left a church, stayed out of church and eventually found a church that we loved. That church became our family away from family and life really began for us. Conner and I became cycling fans in this town. So many things have happened here in this little town which isn't so little anymore.

Now we are following new dreams, leaving to make new friends in a new place. So much has changed since we came to this town. We made friends, lost friends, gained a child, gained two dogs, gained life lessons some harder than others. We came here young and naive, we leave older and much wiser. We leave with many wonderful friends whom we are deeply indebted to and will always miss them. 

This place will always be home to us. It took me many years to start calling this place home and now I realize how silly that was. I wonder how long it will take to call Knoxville home? I wonder who we will meet there? What we will learn? and experiences we will have?

I find it so ironic that 14 years almost to the day, we are packing up to leave this place and moving on to new adventures. Funny how life has a way of repeating itself?

Last night at our friends house, I watched their son Zach walk out to our old purple Saturn which is now his car. I told him ''14 years ago tomorrow, we moved to Visalia in that Saturn'' it was really one of those life full circle moments.

We left our home once, now we are leaving our second home. I never imagined life would take us where it has taken us. So thankful it has taken us together, older,wiser,stronger and as a family. 

Wonder where we will be in fourteen more years? I can't wait to find out.

14 years later, our last photo on the St.John's

A collage of the kids at the Sequoias throughout the years

Full circle. Conner and Zach by the purple Saturn