|Me, Mama, and Curious George|
My earliest memory is of snow. I know.. sounds funny. A Carolina girl talking about snow. The rarity of it may in fact be part of why the memory is there. I don't remember how old I was. We lived in Moorseville and I remember the sliding glass doors at the back of the house. We were going to play in the snow and my mom tied bread bags over our shoes (why would a NC girl own snow boots? That's just silly). I remember being absolutely terrified to step outside into the snow. My dad was there. My sister was there. They were fine but I was certain that as soon as I stepped into the snow I would fall through the Earth and land in China. (Gotta love old-school cartoons) To this day it makes me laugh. I remember in counseling once years ago I laughed about the memory and the therapist asked if it was because I doubted my parents' ability to keep me safe. I laughed even harder (not the response he was expecting). I never doubted that for a minute. I just didn't want to go to China and be separated from my family. They were all that I had and I didn't want to lose them.
The memory is fun but the root of the story remains the same. My family is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given and one of the things I cherish most. It played a huge part in who I am today.
I grew up in a great home. My parents' marriage was an example of the type of marriage I would like one day. Which is also a big part of why at 32/33 I am still single. I don't want to settle. I saw first hand how valuable a good marriage can be --- not only to the two who enter into it but also to the children. Both the children raised in the household and those who visit. I didn't really understand that when I was younger. From a very young age my friends never wanted to go to their house. They wanted to come to our house. I found it a bit annoying because I wanted a change of scenery-- but looking back I can understand why. Many of my friends came from homes with a less than sunny impact on your day. My house was welcoming. Even when stress levels were high there was always a sense that everything was going to be okay. My mom always fixed food enough to feed our family plus a couple of friends because you never knew who would be by for dinner --- and they were always welcome. I remember many days building forts in the woods until Mama called our name for dinner. You always knew she would call two times. If you didn't come the second time she called you were in trouble. I, of course, never got into trouble :)
Growing up with my extended family was fun -- When I was young we lived in the same town or a neighboring town to most of my family. They are sort of loud and cheerful and always in everyone's business. Each of my parents is one of four and then you add in all of the people that we consider "Family" and holidays become a big adventure. It was not uncommon to find people playing games (Yahtzee, Uno, Scrabble, Trouble, Sorry, Jacks, Operation, etc...) Lots of cousins to play with --- and young uncles willing to play tennis in the backyard or crash on the floor and play some embarrassing cheesy girlie game. Then I think of food --- and the laughter at the children's table. I still sit at the children's table --- Single ---
I think of my childhood and I'm thankful. I'm thankful for such a supportive beginning. I'm thankful for my love of games, food, laughter, family, and Southern hospitality. It's where my story begins and it is the type of beginning I hope "my kids" will one day describe.