picture of Michigan's vast fields, with ancient farms and enormous clouded skies at evening
Yesterday evening our family took a trip down "Memory Lane" here in Michigan. We had previously driven around the small apartment complex which housed first the three of us - Pedro and I with baby girl Eva - and later the four of us when little sis Isabel arrived. The apartments weren't anything more to look at now than they were back then (although Eva insisted that she remembered the rocking horses with their chipped paint in the tiny playground!) Yet we made happy memories as new young parents and lived in our 2nd-story home in Lapeer for 2 1/2 years.
Last night we headed toward North Branch with its old-time country feel and pointed out the places we remembered along the way. Driving past the "blue house" (as our kids call it) where we lived for the next 1 1/2 years, I could still see in my mind's eye our toddler girls jumping in piles of autumn leaves and playing joyfully in the summer sunshine. I could envision clearly one week in that house, the week we cared for and loved on baby Caleb shortly after moving in. I remembered too the tears, though time and God's bountiful blessings have washed away the hurt we felt back then.
Moving on we wound round country roads to enter Marlette by way of the small pre-school that Eva and Isabel once attended. Such a sweet place, where we tentatively let go and watched our little girls "spread their wings" (for a few hours a week) and where we booby-trapped the aisles on special program nights with our old-fashioned camcorder plugged in the wall and our baby (Owen) in his carseat taking up precious room in the sanctuary crowded with proud parents.
The small duplex we called home that year still looks as cute as ever, although it was always topsy turvy when we lived there! We had planned to "rough it" for six months with mattresses on the floor until the great mouse incident ... then six months turned into twelve, and with three small children and travels every weekend and one very hot summer, it was an interesting time in our lives. Favorite memories from those days are captured on tape, especially the ones of the novel new brother being outfitted with fluttering pink wings that actually flapped and other moments of hilarity as a tight-knit little family.
Our journey finally led us to the Chinese restaurant in Marlette, the highlight of our night and a place which probably recognized our number on caller ID (if there was such a thing) back in the day! Somehow it was lot more expensive with a family of seven but we deemed it a worthwhile investment on this one special night. On the way home while Adventures in Odyssey kept our little tribe entertained, Pedro and I held hands and gazed at the vast, beautiful Michigan countryside (occasionally braving the frigid night air and frantic screams of chilled children to snap pictures like the one above.)
We have had good moments here. We have loved and lost and loved some more. I'm thankful God has given us time to make Michigan memories once again!