My daughter called the other day. In addition to the things we normally talk about on the phone, she asked if I remembered how old she was when we first moved from the Chicago area – where my husband and I grew up and where both of our kids were born – to Roanoke, Virginia, the first of several moves that eventually landed our family in Minnesota.
I couldn’t answer off the top of my head, so I had to stop and do some mental calculations through the dates and numbers I did recall. My daughter was born in 1987, and was going into first grade when we moved to Virginia. We were there three and a half years before moving to the Denver area. We lived in Colorado for a year and a half, and were there when the Denver Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls. We moved to Minnesota in 1999, which is easy to remember because we were here during all the Y2K concerns that the world as we knew it would end when we welcomed in the year 2000 and computers might not be able to adjust.
That made my daughter seven years old when we moved to Virginia.
The reason she was asking was that she had been doing some mental calculations of her own, and was realizing that she has now lived in Florida – where she went to college, fell in love, got a job, and got married – longer than she’s lived anywhere else in her life.
That threw me. My first reaction was, “You’ve been there that long already?” But, of course, she has. And time marches on for her, as it does for us all.
She and I had some laughs as we strolled down Memory Lane, and through all the events we revisited while I was calculating the milestones along the way. She talked about places and events she knew well, and some that she barely remembered. I filled her in on some details, and talked about places, dates, and milestones of my own that were before her time – where her dad and I lived when we first got married, for instance, and the town we lived in when she and her brother were born. She doesn’t remember the house we lived in at the time, but knows it from photos she’s seen and from our driving past it occasionally when visiting family members who still lived nearby.
Eventually, we got on the subject of our ages, and talked about things like how old each of us was when we got married, and how old I was when she was born. For the record, she got married two years younger than I did, and is still well below the age I was when she – or her older brother – was born. Not that those numbers mean anything, but it was fun to be able to compare them. It also allowed me to think of those numbers in relation to my own mother, who died long before my kids were born.
What started out as a simple question – to verify something that was more a matter of curiosity than anything else – turned into a journey that covered years and miles in many different directions. It gave my daughter and me a chance to relive the parts of that journey that we traveled together, and to acknowledge the ones that came before and the ones continuing on since then.
I enjoy thinking about all that is still in store for my daughter, and everything that still lies ahead of her. I am excited at the thought of all that she’ll learn and enjoy and experience in her life, and all of the places she has yet to explore and the moves she has yet to make. Not geographically, necessarily, but in different areas of her life.
Something else that occurred to me – not when I was talking to my daughter on the phone, but just now as I was writing about it – is that when I was her age, I had not yet moved from the place where I grew up, geographically or in many areas of my life. Which makes me all the more excited to think about the amazing moves and changes that she has yet to experience.
And that I do, too.
The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on September 19, 2013.
©Betty Liedtke, 2013
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