The very first thing I can remember…

A “snapshot image” memory of a hallway, small, a single light above, two doors on either end. I seem to know without seeing it that there’s a stair case beside me. Somehow I know that I was headed from my bedroom to my parents’ room. I was young here. So young some might say that I couldn’t possibly remember these things. But there’s more….I remember sitting on the floor of that apartment kitchen dumping a box of cereal to get with the prize within. How sneaky I must have thought I was! My parents still sleeping, me in my pajamas pouring evidence all over the tile floor.

These aren’t the kinds of things that get retold in stories that get remembered. How else then, could I know them, but to recall them myself? Years later my mom confirmed the layout I described matched the first apartment we lived in, the apartment we moved out of when I was almost 4, or 4, or somesuch 4-ish number. So young, and yet…

There was the trip to the lake.

The singlemost frightening event of my childhood in California, embedding an intense fear of water into my heart and soul until I was more than three times that age, meshing an irrational phobia of drowning to every water experience that required more than 3 feet of water. Regardless of how many swimming classes my mom signed me up for, I didn’t learn how to swim until I was 12, all because one toddler saw an older boy swim under water and decided to plunge herself beneath the ebb and tide without realizing you couldn’t BREATHE it.

It’s funny the things you can remember. The things you can’t. The things you remember that don’t have homes or times and places. Does the trip to the Airforce base in the deep fog that we laughed over when I called it “Froggy” belong here? Or did that come later? What hook do I hang that hat on?

I do remember…

We moved in with my grandparents when I was 4. Ish. Thinking about living there with them makes me smile. I have fond memories. Except for the time I accidentally got burned by my grandpa’s cigarette when we both came around a corner, and one nasty bee sting,… everything else I can remember is filled with swimming pools, trick or treating, fireworks, kittens, dogs and my favorite uncle. There are so many memories from that time living with them in “B” town. I suppose we weren’t even there that long, because by the time I was five we were living in a house on a corner where most of my California memories live and breathe.

From climbing trees to missing bus stops, to red icees and Barbie doll birthday parties,… from losing my first tooth (with the aid of an innocent pair of nail clippers) to friends next door and down on the other corner,… from “pizza beans” to cousins with curly hair (that made me think of Annie only not as nice) to eating watermelons and watching CHIPS with the other grandparents,… from a homemade chess board to a mom in a car accident to strawberry allergies and Kindergarten circles and 1st grade teachers with hair so plastered with hairspray it never moved or swayed no matter what she did. Realizing how many things I can and DO remember from that time makes me realize how important it is to build good memories with my own young children.

After that there was the apartment complex…

The one with the school I didn’t like. The neighbors next door and the girls down below who teased me about my doll. The chicken pox, the bicycles and roller skates, and the lady downstairs who introduced me to bologna and white bread (unlike our usual wheat!)– a craving I still sometimes get. I vaguely remember the conversation when my parents tried to explain that “Daddy would be moving out” but we’d still see him. It seems like I got upset right then but I still didn’t “get it” right then. How do you help a six year old “get it?”

I have no idea how much time REALLY passed between then and our move to Texas. In my mind it’s not very long. I don’t remember being there, living there without him, getting upset, seeing my mom upset – nothing like that. Poof and zap and we’re on a convoy to Texas with my mom’s parents, a U-Haul and everything we owned. It was the last time I’d call California home. It was the beginning of a new home in Texas.

Looking back…

I realize that the fun times at my grandparent’s house couldn’t have been ALL FUN ALL THE TIME.. (We’ve had our own experience moving in with parents and a toddler when life dealt us layoffs.) I KNOW that my mom worked more than D did and I can only imagine the stress that MUST have put on them. And I’m SURE there must have been more time that passed after D left, before we actually moved, more than a day, or a week. But I can’t recall it.

Being only 6 when we moved away, there’s a lot that I can’t remember. But there’s a lot that I can and I’m very blessed that it’s mostly positive.

But I didn’t know…

While I was living there, creating those memories and growing up… I had no idea that the man I’d eventually marry was living there, too.

Born an hour and a half away from me, beginning his life in Southern California and making his own memories, was the little boy who (after moving to a couple of other states before landing in Texas less than an hour from us) would eventually grow into the man I love and call my husband.

{Life is funny. And God had a plan all along…}

…to be continued…

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Hey, y’all! I’m Amber and I wear many hats. I drink a ton of coffee and I’m constantly sweeping crumbs off the floor. After 18 years of homeschooling, I’m getting close to graduating my third child and now we are starting over at preschool with our fourth, Lil Miss Mouse. She keeps us young and she’s the main reason for my excessive coffee consumption. Drink up!