Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Did the Easter Bunny visit you last Sunday? Did you have an Easter Egg Hunt? I did not have to search at all for a fun-filled, family Easter weekend! Saturday was a beautiful day up here: sunny, breezy, and cool. Perfect day to have lunch outside at Blue Mountain Brewery with my daughter, son-in-law, and his mother. Oh and sweet Paige! The people magnet. Everywhere Paige goes people want to pet and love on her. And she loves the attention. (What girl doesn’t?!) It was also the perfect afternoon to visit King Family Vineyards, where I saw my younger daughter, got a glass of wine, sat outside and visited with people also enjoying the perfect Saturday afternoon. And people watched.
Saturday night was “Sleepover at Mom’s” with my girls! Love having my kids under my roof. We left for NC Sunday morning before anyone was even up for the Sunrise Service so that we could get OUR pew at New Philadelphia Moravian Church for the Easter service. Met my son, sister, and brother-in-law there, saving our seats. Nothing like being a Moravian on Easter Sunday. After the inside, outside, and graveyard services, the kids and I picked Mom up, got our Easter chicken (KFC – once a year) and headed to my sister’s house for our traditional Easter lunch. Don’t you love family traditions?!
The Easter Bunny brought my son a t-shirt quilt! Yes, I saved all of my kids’ t-shirts from infancy through high school graduation. Added some college and fraternity t-shirts and VOILA! One beautiful, special, memorable t-shirt quilt! My mother made each of my girls a t-shirt quilt for their high school graduations, but was unable to make my son’s when his turn came. Through a quilting friend, I found Ellen of TopStitch Designs who described making this quilt as “telling the story of Michael’s youth.” So true. There is even a sleeve on the back in case he ever wants to hang it. Truly a beautiful work of art! What special memories are wrapped up in this quilt!
“Memories are timeless treasures of the heart.”
While sitting in church Sunday morning, many memories flooded my thoughts as I realized that 21 years ago, April 1, 1997, my family moved from my hometown of Winston-Salem, NC, to Charlottesville, VA, for what was supposed to be 2-4 years. And yet, here it is 21 years later and I am still in Virginia. A lot has happened in these past 21 years. My children grew up, graduated from high school, graduated from college, one got married. I have made a lot of wonderful friends, have a job I love for a company I love. But I also found myself divorced, SOLO, something I never would have believed possible 21 years ago. What if we had not moved to Virginia? Would I still be married? Would I be celebrating my 38th wedding anniversary this year? I have no answers. And never will.
“What if… everything you are going through is preparing you for what you asked for.”
Ever stopped and thought, “What if…?” What if I had not moved to Charlottesville 21 years ago? What if I had not moved into the cul-de-sac I did? What if I had not applied for a job at ACAC 17 years ago? What if I had not transferred to Wake Forest from Carolina? What if I had not asked my ex-husband to the party at the lake July 4, 1979? What if I now move to Chapel Hill? Or to the beach? Or back to Winston-Salem?
What if we had not moved to the neighborhood we chose? I would never have met my wonderful friends and neighbors. My children would not have gone to their wonderful neighborhood schools. They would not have made the wonderful friends they did. Lifelong friends for all of us.
What if I had not applied for a job at ACAC? I mean, I did it on a whim. I was planning to go back to work in 2000 and had interviewed for another job, when my dad had a stroke. Because I went to Winston-Salem to be with him in the hospital, I missed the 2nd interview and they had to fill the position. Funny how things work out. I did not look for another job until 6 months later when I applied to ACAC. And here I am, 17 years later at the job I was meant for. Working with friends who are like family to me.
“Don’t let any more what if’s become should haves.” Doe Zantamata
What if I had not transferred to Wake Forest from Carolina for my last 2 years of college. I would never have met my ex. I would not have my beautiful children. I also made some very dear friends at Wake who are family, godparents to my oldest, as I am to their oldest.
What if I had not been so brazen to ask my ex to a 4th of July party at the lake as “friends”. We were both dating other people, but found ourselves together from that day forward. Married a year later. Do I regret this? Marrying him? Moving to VA? No. Absolutely not. We had a great marriage. I have great kids. Great friends. I have no regrets. Well, the only regret is that I have been away from my family for 21 years. We all lived within 10 minutes of each other before I moved. I try to see them as often as possible, and thankfully, with phone calls, text messaging, g-chatting, and facetiming, I am in constant contact with my kids and my sisters. But I do miss not living closer to my family. And I miss my NC friends.
“If you don’t leave your past in the past, it will destroy your future. Live for what today has to offer, not for what yesterday has taken away.”
Now… what if I move to Chapel Hill or to the beach or back to Winston-Salem? This is in the future, and I have no idea what I will do. Or when. But I am not fretting about it. I am, however, setting things in motion for when that day comes. Yes, it is a dream to live in Chapel Hill, as it is to live at the beach. But I do have some very dear friends in Winston, along with my sisters and mom, plus my home church (still a member), and I would be happy relocating there. And it is closer to the beach.
“So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.”
My life has not taken the path I thought it would. Far from it. But I truly believe everything happens to get you to the place you are supposed to be. I am looking forward to my future, trusting that the best is yet to come. You should too. Look forward, not backward. Don’t waste your time worrying about the what-ifs of your past, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
“Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you ever imagined.”