This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.
On Monday night, I was a pretty good mess. After I posted this, I had some issues arise and some talking, and I went to bed in tears a little worried I’d offended people I love. While I realize the post was certainly triggering for some, I was simply trying to make the point that just because we’ve done something one way for a long time doesn’t make it the right way.
(And if you have issue with it, I would much rather you talk to me to my own face, phone, text, or email rather than to other people. Ahem.)
But we had plans to visit old friends in Richmond, Virginia, the city where I grew up, on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I was determined to enjoy those friends without concerning myself too much about something I couldn’t change.
We left early Tuesday from my parents’ house in Greensboro, NC, my husband and me and our three kidlets, only one of whom had ever been to Richmond. And that was when Libbie was just five months old and I flew out with her for my friend’s brother’s funeral.
We went to the home of my friend Emily. We were summer missionaries together the summer after our freshman year of college, and the two of us were peas in a pod: romantic, goofy, ready to fall in love and get married and have kids. We did. And this was the first time our kids have ever met, even though our daughters (who are only 10 days apart in age) are nearly 7 years old.
After our lunch-and-playdate where Libbie and Lily Grace quickly bonded, we went on to the University of Richmond, my and my husband’s alma mater. We walked around campus, visited some of my husband’s old professors, made a stop in the bookstore (where I worked all four years of college!), and visited the memorial bench for our friend Mike. It was humid and we all sweat like crazy, but for me it felt a little cathartic to visit after so many years. Even though there have been many changes since we graduated in 2004, the Great Hall where my English professors’ offices are still smells the same. The bookstore accounts manager remembered me and was so kind to my family. I was flooded with memories of picnics and concerts and dorm rooms and staring at stars. It was much-needed.
Then we went to my friend Jen’s parents’ home, where I spent at least half my time during high school. It was refreshing to still be a “refrigerator friend” and so fun to see my kids hanging out with her 3-year-old twin boys. We went out to dinner, talked a long time, and my family spent the night.
We took a driving tour this morning of the small part of town where my church and house were and where I went to elementary and middle school. Unlike the last few times I’ve been to Richmond, I didn’t feel lost or immediately like a 16-year-old again. I felt comforted in the sweetness of old friendships that have expanded and multiplied through children. It was just the tenderness and love for me, my whole self, from those who knew me in my teens, that I needed.
And even though my parents don’t live there, it felt a lot like home.