Monday, February 22, 2016

27 Hours: A Whirlwind Tour of Home

We left for Kingwood yesterday morning at 7 a.m. Our first trip to my real homestead in several years- the lake house is bigger and an hour closer (and involves a lake), so we do all our family gatherings there, but this weekend required the Original. The Real Thing. We were entering the livable forest; home to my family since 1988, and I think because I never lived at home again after going to college, and my parents got the lake house when I was in law school and we started meeting there, I was just not prepared for the level of nostalgia I was swimming in for the whole trip. Happy, happy, dreamlike, constant nostalgia. Every street, every corner, every room. I have something that happened there, some connection, some friend, some something, and it's nearly all so happy and so deeply felt but now so distant and I simply had no defense for all the feelings. Luckily we were jam packed with activities or I might have just been wandering around the greenbelts crying and giggling over memories of tree forts and friends and bicycle rides for hours.

But busy we were. We arrived just in time to help my sister pick out an outfit for her baby shower, putting makeup on over each other in the little bathroom we shared between the three of us for 20 years. And for me to not be nostalgic over the current state of my childhood bedroom.

Looks just the same. I did love that my dad kept my high school swimming sign hanging up in the garage. NOSTALGIA!

Val's shower, hosted by a trio of beloved family friends we've known since Eric was a baby (Eric is 27), was beautiful. Her nursery theme is arrows and tribal, with browns and creams and coral and aqua. The ladies did a spectacular job capturing that and it was so fun to celebrate my sister and my future niece.

Claire got to come and she was super excited to be part of her first grown-up gathering.

While we partied, Cora napped, James worked, and my dad took Landon a romp through the greenbelts to our old stomping grounds- my elementary school, my neighborhood pool and playgrounds... Landon thinks Kingwood is maybe even cooler than the lake. After the shower my mom and dropped my sister off at her in-law's house and then headed out to pick up the sugary treats for my birthday party on Sunday. We accidentally stopped in a Ross and a TJ Maxx, finding a bunch of dresses and sparkly zebra painting (as you do), before racing home so I could scoop up James and the kids and meet a pair of old youth group friends, now married with two kids, at my old elementary school park. We went to dinner after, meeting up with another old church friend (also married to another church friend; someone in the youth group had to branch out!) and her two kids. We hadn't seen each other in years and here we were with more children than adults at a restaurant just down the road from our middle schools and high schools and it was so great. Surreal, but great.

[Also, sadly unpictured]

After dinner we made a quick stop at home to change clothes (again!) and head to the movies. My parents took the kids out for celebratory ice cream (Claire is Wrangler of the Month at school!) and James and I were dying of laughter during Deadpool. The movie was fabulous. I would totally pay to see it again and I do not say that lightly. If you like raunchy, wry, 4th-wall breaking, super dark actiony sexy comedies, go see it immediately.

We got home around 10 and I did the traditional knocking on my parents door to let them know I was home safe and again, my heart was squeezing as I tapped on their door, opening it to find them lying in bed with their books waiting to chat about my evening. I filled them in on my movie, confessed to stealing a cupcake intended for tomorrow's festivities, and went upstairs to kiss my own three babies goodnight and crawl into bed with James. My bed being an air mattress set up in the game room because my bedroom is a gym. So much surreality!

On Sunday my brother met us at the house early so that we could present my parents with a surprise present for their dual 60th birthdays this year. They had no idea we had one more reason to celebrate and were so surprised and touched with our gift- a 3-D wood map of their lake, with depth measurements and a million other details, plus a little house marking their favorite spot in the world. My sister found it at this awesome shop- they were a fabulous company to work with- and I'm so glad we were able to present it to them all together.

Next up, we headed to church to have the CoraBunny baptized. It took some convincing to get her in her dress since it didn't have an animal on it, but she LOVED her shoes and her bow and eventually acquiesced to the dress.

Proving that some things do change, we were even ready early and got a picture before driving over!

As we were walking back in the house I saw Cora climbing on the porch and snapped one more. I'm making it her new unofficial 2 year old portrait. It's just so very her. Even if there isn't a unicorn or a zebra on her dress.

My Aunty Kirsten and Uncle Phil were there as godparents- they live nearby in the Woodlands and we grew up very close to them. Our pastor- the one who confirmed me, married me, and baptized Landon- was able to perform the sacrament and I'm so glad it all came together as it did.

Cora handled the water + forehead situation far better than expected. As long as she was in daddy's arms, she trusted it was all going to be okay, even if she did pat her head on the way back to our pew, asking, "wawee? (water) wawee head??". I mean yeah, it's a little strange.

Strange and special and done! Cora was also done. She declined the group pictures at the end, though I feel like the rest of us are really selling it.

Cora's just not buying.

Luckily we went home and she found out baptisms can involve presents!

Presents and her first Cora-approved cake! And her Houston-humidity-approved curls!

We ate catered Mexican food while we all crowded around the table, laughing because my mom no longer has any of her serving dishes, long tablecloths, or really anything group-oriented at the KW house anymore. The food was delicious, particularly for my TexMex-starved sister, and then it was time for cake. Because on top of it all, we were celebrating my birthday. 33 here I come! Preferably with a lot of sugar.

And- for the first time- probably just so I can use the word "surreal" again- Cora even ate it! And LOVED it! Her grin perfectly captures the general mood of the weekend.

And then by 1 p.m. my sister was off to the airport to fly home to Denver and by 2 we were piled in the car on our way back to Fort Worth. 27 hours in Kingwood, and what a crazy, happy, nostalgic, busy, instant and yet almost hazy 27 hours they were. We so rarely visit, and I know my parents will sell that house once they retire, but it really hit home what a punch in the gut (and heart) that's going to be. But how lovely to have had somewhere we can feel so strongly about for so long; and how much lovelier to have those memories and the foundation we built there follow us wherever we go.


  1. My parents have lived in their current house since I was 7 and I feel ill even thinking about them not living there anymore, even though I don't live in the same city and it's a huge house they don't really need. I keep trying to remind myself that we've had 26 years of wonderful memories there and that they deserve to continue to change just as we kids do. But still, so hard!

  2. Do you have pics of your brother as a little boy? I'm thinking Landon resembles him, no?

  3. Your sister is so totally wearing a Lularoe (Julia) dress in the last pic. Right? Amaright? My first one will be here today and I can't wait to try it.

  4. So great to visit your old stomping grounds! I love seeing pictures of your darling family. Does everyone say that Claire looks exactly like your Mom? I think their faces are identical!

  5. Yeah, I'll go ahead and say what we're all thinking...Glenda's gams are fabulous!