“In My Mind I’m Gone to Carolina…” – James Taylor 1968

Welcome back to SOLO AT SIXTY! (warning – picture overload!)

Wow! It has been quite a while since we have been together – almost a year! In my last blog (July 1, 2021), my sisters and I had just enjoyed our annual Sister Beach Weekend (always Father’s Day weekend) where we spread some of our sweet momma’s ashes in the ocean. I miss her every day… even more now. She would love all that has happened in my life this past year.

“I miss my mother. The loss of your mother, no matter how old you are, changes your life forever. Your mother is your first and forever friend. You never really get over the loss, but you learn to live with it. She is never far away from your thoughts, and she is always in your heart.”

Last summer during our family vacation, my son and daughter-in-law brought a special present for my grandson – a onesie that said “Cousins make the best friends!” We all laughed and then said … “Wait… WHAT?!?!” Yes, I was going to be a grandmother again! 

Had to wait until fall to see if we were having a “Beau” or a “Bow” and “BOW” won out! I was gaining a granddaughter! My sweet Sutton Leigh was born in January of 2022 and I was able to make it to Charlotte for her birth. She is pure joy! I am now a very blessed Lala with both a grandson and a granddaughter!

“Grandkids are the greatest gift your heart will ever know.”

My grandson celebrated his first birthday with the Carolina Football theme “BE THE ONE”! This was appropriate, as this one-year-old did not miss a single home football game. He tailgated and cheered for the Heels… well for at least a half, and then slept the rest of the game. This season will be a whole new ballgame (pun intended) for us as Chase is totally mobile now and on the go! This little Tar Heel even went to the bowl game and a couple of basketball games. It’s in his blood…. He has no choice!

More excitement came my way this February when I kept my grandson while my daughter and son-in-law bought a new car. When they came to pick him up, I asked how it went, and they said, “Fine, but the dealer could not do one thing for us – they could not put NC tags on our car.” I asked why they would do that… and then it dawned on me – my kids were moving to NC! A dream of mine was finally coming true – to have all of my kids in the same area. And even better, close to my sisters and the beach! If they were moving, I was moving. I got my house in order, put it on the market and headed to the beach while it was being shown. The housing market is crazy, and it sold in one weekend. Then the real fun began – searching for a house in Charlotte while packing up my current home. I downsized 6 years earlier when I moved, but still, there was A LOT to pack! And I was packing up by myself. Luckily, several friends knew people who had recently moved and were trying to get rid of their boxes, so I had access to all the boxes I needed. Only had to buy 12 rolls of packing tape!

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” – Meister Ekhart

With all of my kids settling in Charlotte and Huntersville, I decided on the Lake Norman area for me. Made offers on several houses only to be outbid. But I knew patience was needed (one attribute I lack!) and that the right house would come along at the right time, and I was RIGHT! A house I had looked at twice went under contract, but the buyers had to back out at the last minute, and I was able to make a quick offer. A quick offer, an even quicker closing date, and a new plan. There went my summer at the beach! I went from preparing to store my furniture to having it delivered to my NEW house in a week’s time. It was meant to be. And on top of it all, this house has room for my daughter and her family to live with me while their new house is being built. I am so excited about this opportunity! To be able to see my grandson on a daily basis, especially when he first wakes up. Not to mention being able to kiss him goodnight. Not many grandmothers get to experience this. My sweet momma did, and I know how much it meant to her. I will cherish this time.

“Children are the rainbow of life. Grandchildren are the pot of gold.” – Irish Blessing

It’s been about a month now… I have finally unpacked all the boxes and settled in. I love my house and my neighborhood, and being so close to my kids! And I have 3 concerts lined up – Doobie Brothers, James Taylor, and Elton John. Perks of living so close to Charlotte. 

As a bonus, I discovered I actually know people down here in my new area! I have met up with several friends I knew before I moved to Charlottesville, and several people from Charlottesville who have moved to Lake Norman. Not to mention the children of several people I work with who live close by. And on top of it all, my dearest friend from Charlottesville also sold her house the same week I sold mine, and will be moving down to this area as well. It truly is a small world.

“Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them but you always know they are there.”

I had many tears 25 years ago when I left my home in Clemmons, NC, to move to Charlottesville. I had even more tears 6 years ago when I moved into my new house alone. But as sad as I was to leave my friends and co-workers, I had no tears as I headed to Lake Norman to meet the movers at my new house. And just like when I moved 6 years ago, my older sister was there to help me unpack. She brought her sweet husband this time. My sisters are only an hour away! They both came back the following weekend to help me settle in. My kids have all been here multiple times to help – we even celebrated my older daughter’s birthday together at my house. This truly is my dream come true. My only regret is now that I am so close to where my sweet momma was living, she is no longer there. I could visit her every week if she were still with us. However, I know she is smiling down on all of us being so close together.

Life is good y’all. My family was all together the weekend before last as our sweet Sutton was baptized. She was a perfect angel, fell asleep in my son’s arms, but woke up when the Priest put the water on her head. Our family and my daughter-in-law’s family celebrated this momentous occasion together. Family is so very important in her family as well –  my granddaughter has 8 cousins!

“Baptism is the initial step of a faithful heart.” – Max Lucado

I was blessed to keep my sweet granddaughter while my son and his beautiful wife attended 2 weddings last weekend. Sutton and Lala time. She is so animated and not yet mobile which makes life just a bit easier. We went for a walk, we talked, we laughed, we played, and she napped on me (is there anything sweeter than holding a sleeping baby?). We are all going to the beach together for a week in July. All of my kids and grandkids under the same roof. I cannot wait! Life will be busy this year at the beach entertaining an 18-month-old and a 6-month-old, but I have been waiting for this for a long time. We’ll be clucking (hunting for shells and sharks’ teeth) and jumping waves and building sandcastles. And hopefully napping!

“The sand may brush off, the salt may wash clean, the tans may fade, but the memories will last forever.”

With Father’s Day this Sunday, I want to take this opportunity to highlight my favorite Dads who I am so very proud of – my son celebrating his first Father’s Day, my son-in-law celebrating his 2nd Father’s Day, and my nephew celebrating his 6th Father’s Day. It is also Sisters Beach Weekend for my sisters and me!

This past year proved to me that I can no longer wait on life to come to me, I have to make the effort and reach for my dreams. Several friends received cancer diagnoses, several friends lost loved ones. We need to wake up each day and be thankful first thing in the morning – thankful that we have another day to live our lives to the fullest, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

 “In my mind I’m gone to Carolina…  Can’t you see the sunshine?…  Can’t you just feel the moonshine?”

 PS – I continued my tradition of the 25 Days of Christmas Sweaters in 2021. Hoping to carry it forward in 2022!

8 thoughts on ““In My Mind I’m Gone to Carolina…” – James Taylor 1968”

  1. Oh my friend! How I have missed your column! So much has happened I. Your life and mine over this past year. So excited to your relocation to the lake area. We will have to get together when you are around. Here’s to a wonderful summer!

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  2. What a treat to read your inspiration – I have missed it. But it was worth the wait. I am so happy to hear how your family and life have thrived these past couple of years.

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  3. So excited for you Leslie! A lot has changed since you first wrote your blog and we had our reunion at Kim’s beach house. I know you are loving those grand babies. They will keep you young. My sweet Marion is almost 4 and Hampton will be 1 in September. We live 2 miles away from them in Orlando. Moving so far from NC and all my friends in Rocky Mount and Mom in Winston-Salem and Patrick in Greensboro was really tough but your blog reminded me to be thankful for this opportunity of having the chance to be their Gaga and watch them grow up and be an important part of their lives. Sometimes I get lonely thinking of what I don’t have here but then I hold my beautiful baby and my heart melts. Loved seeing your photos. Such a beautiful family❤️❤️Love you! Margie

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  4. <!– /* Font Definitions / @font-face {font-family:”Cambria Math”; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;} @font-face {font-family:Calibri; panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4;} / Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {margin:0in; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,sans-serif;} h1 {mso-style-priority:9; mso-style-link:”Heading 1 Char”; mso-margin-top-alt:auto; margin-right:0in; mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; margin-left:0in; font-size:24.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,sans-serif; font-weight:bold;} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {mso-style-priority:99; color:blue; text-decoration:underline;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {mso-style-priority:99; color:#954F72; text-decoration:underline;} span.Heading1Char {mso-style-name:”Heading 1 Char”; mso-style-priority:9; mso-style-link:”Heading 1″; font-family:”Calibri”,sans-serif; font-weight:bold;} p.name, li.name, div.name {mso-style-name:name; mso-margin-top-alt:auto; margin-right:0in; mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; margin-left:0in; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,sans-serif;} p.meta, li.meta, div.meta {mso-style-name:meta; mso-margin-top-alt:auto; margin-right:0in; mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; margin-left:0in; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,sans-serif;} span.title {mso-style-name:title;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;}

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  5. Congratulations on your move and the new grand baby. I loved your blog and love even more your positive attitude. Blessings to you and your family. Pam

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