- February 23, 1993
- 15 addresses in 5 counties.
- 9 jobs.
- 9 hospital stays (3 psych, 2 births and 4 major surgeries)
- 5 major hurricanes, well 4 hurricanes and 1 big TS
- 4 cars
- 10 cats
- 2 kids
- 1 husband and 2 more kids
- 10 years a band mom
- 9 years a football mom (also 6 track, 2 wrestling, 3 tennis)
- beach days, mountain days, rollercoaster days
- absolutely countless memories
When I left my dad's driveway at 2am on Tuesday, February 23, 1993 the song "Ordinary World" by Duran Duran was playing on the radio, and snow was covering the ground. Heading to my new job in Cary, NC (just outside Raleigh), I SORT OF knew one girl that I would be rooming with (once we found a place to live) and had everything I owned in my 1989 Nissan Sentra. I remember so clearly that when I got into NC I heard on the radio that they were predicting snow flurries for Friday, and were already cancelling school. I laughed so hard at that, and it stuck with me all these years. Years later after enduring some snow/ice storms, I totally understood it. I started my job few days later and while I hated the job, I LOVED NC and decided I would stay. My roomate left while I was at work one day and there I was all alone. I was 22 years old and I don't even recall being scared.
Over a 26 year span I experienced so much and fully absorbed being a North Carolinian. At this point of my life I have lived here longer than I did my birth state of Ohio. I LOVE IT here. The summers are hot, the autumns are warm, the winters are (mostly) mild and the springs are stunning. Where I live is 2 hours from the beach, 5 hours from the mountains. There is an amazing zoo, super fun amusement park, great museums, aquariums, a couple decent college football teams, awesome professional football team, and an IKEA just to mention a few of the things I love about this state.
I have found an amazing second family here in NC. My sons' dad's family took me in and and made me family, and even though he and I did work out, they still count me as family, and I count them as my family as well. So much so, many of my NC sisters were at my wedding to Mark! I may not talk to them as much as I would like to, but they, along with my sons' father have always been there for me and I love them more than they know.
In NC, I made some of the best friends a girl could have, and lost some of the best friends a girl could have as well. I spent years as a band mom for Adam and the moms and dads I met along the way are top notch. I was really blessed to work hard, and play hard with those parents and will forever consider them friends. Same goes for the football (and other sports) moms that I met along the way.
In NC not only did I start my family, and grow my family, but I had the absolute privilege to see first hand some of my best friends starting families of their own, and watching those kids grow up.
In NC, I got to spend three amazing summers working with a drum corps and bonding with my son. I learned things about myself in those three summers that will stay with me forever. Wouldn't change any of that for the world.
In NC, I met my husband and two more of my sons. The six of us had adventure after adventure here. We bought a house, cars and had our wedding at home. We lost a house and jobs, and for a time lost each other, but in the end we all ended up right back together where we belong.
In NC, we saw a son leave our home way too soon, we sent a son to college, we sent a son to CDL school and we miss a son that is far too distant from us. We could not be more proud of each of the young men they are and are excited for the paths they are all currently on.
In NC, I learned about me. I grew up here. I moved here alone, and figured things out when they didn't go the way I planned. Over and over and over I picked myself back up and started again. I think about that 22 year old kid and wonder how on earth I had the guts to to it. I think I have always been tougher than I realize. I would not change anything.
The only time I ever regretted being here was when my dad was sick and passed away, and then again when my brother got sick and passed away. I truly love this state with all my heart and I will miss it terribly. I will also miss my friends terribly but being back in Ohio with my family will be great. One son lives in Colorado, one son is an over the road truck driver, one son is moving to TN after graduating next year, and the other son is making his own way in life. My husband is never here, so it's time for me to be near my parents, sisters, nephews and other family. It's time.
Thank you, North Carolina. I will always be here in my mind.