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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Virginia and Me..

I have lived in Virginia for 21 years today.  Here's the post I wrote last year on my 20th year here.  Thanks for having me, Virginia.  I love ya.

I have made it fairly clear that I am from the great state of Texas and that I am quite proud of being a Texan.  We are rather obnoxious that way.  I love my Texas and I will always be proud, but today I'm going to write about a different state...a state, that sadly, I probably could not have found on the map, when I was growing up.  I mean, in my defense, that state of Texas takes up so much darn room on the map, you know, and it really does take forever to drive out of the state because it's so darn big, so we really can't blame that on my geography teachers.  It's just that lots of times we don't care so much about the rest of the country.  Like I said, we're obnoxious like that.  For example, I found this floating around the Facebook pages of my Texas friends (and maybe on my own page) on Texas Independence Day:

See, just a little obnoxious.  But, today, May 16, 2012, I have lived in the beautiful state of Virginia and right outside the beautiful city of Washington, DC for 20 years.  My mom and I rolled into town on this day in 1992 in my little white Volkswagen Cabriolet.  I was the child who never went away to sleepover camp, who barely ever made it through a one night slumber party and here I was driving across the country to get this dream of Washington, DC out of my system so that I could just get back to Texas to settle into my life.  My brain was filled with my degree in Government from the University of Texas and my heart was filled with visions of convincing the majority of Americans that one of my very favorite Texans, George H.W. Bush, should stay in the White House.  The plan was for me to stay for 6 months and watch this man be re-elected.  Both of those things didn't happen, but then, to be honest, I was stuck way down on the totem pole at the job I got at the Republican National Committee, so really it wasn't my fault.  In fact, I was so far down on the totem pole that I wasn't even in the basement of the RNC.  You had to push B2 on the elevator to get to the office large mail room where my desk corner of a table was.  So I was effectively below the basement and couldn't possibly have had anything to do with losing the election of 1992.  Still, I cried like a baby on Election Night anyway and felt like I had let down the entire country.  I was also sure that we were all going to you-know-where in a handbasket since President Bush was going back to Texas and Bill Clinton was going to be our President. Even more surprising to me was that apparently, I wasn't going back to Texas with President Bush because there was someone else working on Floor B2 at the RNC.  I thought he was awfully cute and funny and I was pretty sure that I could not leave and let him live his life without me in it.  So basically, I found a lot of things in Virginia and in neighboring Washington, DC.  I found a lot of things that I didn't plan on finding.

To be honest, this photo might be from West Virginia (but had I not moved to Virginia, I surely would never have traveled to West Virginia.)

In Virginia, I found four distinct seasons.  I found an autumn where the leaves changed to colors that I had only seen in a crayon box.  I saw some of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen, just driving down the street.  I found spring and summer at Lake Anna where it was green and peaceful and perfect.
Drew thinks deep thoughts at Lake Anna

I found winter, even though I didn't want to find winter.  I have listened to the TV reports during many winters when the weather anchors are breathless with excitement over the pending "storm of century". I am usually breathless with claustrophobia when those reports start. But, when I take a peek outside, I know it is beautiful. Even if I don't admit it often, I kind of like it when the world stops and my people are all snug together. (but only for a couple of days, max)

In Virginia, during those evil post-naptime hours of 4:00pm-6:00 pm, I found an alley full of mothers with young children.  We would plop ourselves in our lawn chairs and watch our little ones play with community tricycles, scooters, fire trucks and plastic balls.  I found friendship, understanding, laughter and support as we all worked through being in the trenches with young babies and toddlers together.

Snow Fort (Mommy took this picture by stretching her arm out the front door)

In Virginia, I found a job teaching 4th grade which happens to be the grade in which the Social Studies curriculum focuses on Virginia history.  I found Monticello and Mount Vernon.  I found Atlantic beaches and ridges and valleys and the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I found that in minutes I could be walking on the Civil War battleground of Bull Run and that 8 US Presidents were born here.  It was pure joy for a history/government nerd like me.
Mount Vernon, Home of George Washington

In Virginia, I became a part of my husband's family who had known tragedy and loss and as a result of that pain had not lost their hearts, but had grown bigger ones.  They treat everyone as a member of the family, no matter their genetics or bloodlines.  The term "step-this" or "step-that" is never used.  This family has been drawn together simply by love and compassion and they have loved me and welcomed me.  I am blessed by them.

In Virginia, I hit my knees on a bright, sunny September day in 2001 and asked Him to spare the man I had found here.  I begged His mercy as I heard rumors and reports of destruction and death just down the highway from me.  I felt guilty and grateful as my husband made his way through the traffic of downtown DC and back to our home and our family in the Northern Virginia suburbs.

In Virginia, I found that God threw lots of my plans out the window.  President Bush was not re-elected and I did not go back to Texas.  I found that God brought me a powerless job in the basement of a building in the most powerful city in the world and He sat me next to a Virginia boy:  a boy who would take the elevator all the way up to B1 where the vending machine was and would get me a Diet Coke just about everyday;  a boy who would help me to build a home in a state in which I never imagined I would stay;  a boy who would help me to build a life full of three more Virginia boys and blessings in abundance.  In Virginia, I found that God's plans are always better than my plans.

PS.  Dear Texas, You know what else I found out?  You know, Sam Houston?  1st and 3rd President of the Republic of Texas, US Senator from Texas, Governor of Texas and Iconic Hero of Texas?  He was born in Virginia.  So, you might just hold on to your cowboy hats because at least one of my little Virginia boys still might make a splash in the great state of Texas...just wait :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is just the greatest ode to both Texas and Virginia and, having vacillated between both heavingly places on earth, I am identifying so closely with your love for both !!!! Also associated with RNC (Campaign Committee)....currently in Dallas (Rockwall)and miss the four seasons in VA....particularly fall colors and apple blossoms in spring of year ! I read your posts and feel I know your heart to be gloriously big and beautiful.