It seems so hard to believe. I just can’t fathom how the time passed. One day I was calling into the hospital at 6:00 in the morning to see if I was going to be induced and the next I’m sitting here processing the fact that I have a sixteen year old. I can still remember that day vividly. There wasn’t an open bed. I called back at 8:00 and was told to come down. My favorite song at the time was “Amazing Love” by the Newsboys. As we pulled into the hospital, it came on the radio. I sat there until it was finished and thought about how much love I had for this child that I hadn’t yet gazed upon. Then we went inside to start the induction. Some hours later, I would meet my 9 lb 11 oz little boy.
Obviously, there has been a lot of living in between the moment when I first became a mother to the beautiful boy who had made his way into the bright light of the outside world and to today where he stands at 6’5″, towering over me.
Everybody tells you that it all passes quickly. You believe them, but think that you’ll be able to savor it all. That time will pass more slowly for you. But it doesn’t. You go about your life enjoying, lamenting, smiling, crying, and trying to bask in the gloriousness of it all. And then you arrive at a destination that you knew was coming and you wonder how in the world you have gotten there.
Sixteen feels like such a right of passage in my mind. At that age, I got my driver’s license and was finally allowed to date. His passing into sixteen does not have that same attachment. Virginia licensing is at 16 and 3 months and so he won’t be driving on dates until after that. I still think it’s a pivotal time. They are making so many more decisions for themselves. You are guiding them, but at this point they are much more self accountable for their decisions. I miss the days that have passed, but I am excited to see what his future holds. I wonder about what twists and turns he will take to find his brand of happiness. And I am overjoyed in the fact that I will be there to see it unfold.
Before tiny houses were a thing to be desired and featured on TV shows, my parents were living that way with a baby in tow (that’d be me).
My parents were young when they married. Only 17 and 19. My mother got pregnant with me a month after they were married.
The apartment that they were living in when they first got married didn’t allow children and here I was, fast approaching the outside world.
They bought a little travel trailer and lived in that before deciding they wanted to have a little more adventure. After that, they replaced it with a slightly newer one and off they journeyed to Alabama.
They have lots of tales from that time there.
When they decided to come back home to Naples, Florida, they parked the trailer at my Papa’s and we lived in it there while deciding what to do next.
A School Bus.
The Flinstones Shriner’s (to know who they are, check out this article)were selling the 1959 school bus that had carried around the little cars that they drove in the local parades. My dad thought that he could make it into a motorhome.
He bought it from them in 1979 for $300.
We continued to live in the little trailer while he converted it into a home. My parents had bought some land out in the Everglades halfway between Naples and Immokalee.
For about two or three weeks prior to the big move, my dad went out and mowed a pathway through the property to be able to drive the bus onto the land.
I remember the bus being parked beside my Papa’s side door of his home.
My dad said that it was only parked there on the day that we were pulling out.
Wilds of Collier County.
We moved out to the property in the summer of 1980.
I would have been almost three so that memory is probably one of my earliest memories.
The Converted School Bus.
Once we made it there and parked our new home, my dad took out the driver’s seat and put a gas fridge in its place.
When you came up the steps you were in the living room.
When facing the back, there was a couch on the left and my mom’s cedar chest (which I inherited at 16 and my daughter will get when she turns 16) was on the right.
If you continued on, there was a counter with a sink and hot plate on the left and a dining room table with two school bus seats facing the table on either side of it behind the wall on the right.
Continuing on, there was a door on the left with a little tub (they had a toddler, so they opted for a mini tub that had to be cut down to fit) and toilet.
My bed was a bunk built over the wheel well on the right side. There was shelving above the bed for storage.
Then you would come to the door where my parents’ bedroom was located. They had a double bed and tallboy dresser in there.
The lights were run on 12 volts. My mom would hook the 12 volts up to her car battery from a little plug that stuck out of the grill of the car (a creation of my dad’s) every night and if my dad needed it during the day, he had an extra battery out in the shop.
We had a pitcher pump that my parents would get buckets of water from. Then they would heat it up to pour in the tub to bathe me. They would suffer through the cold bathing of themselves right at the pitcher pump.
At some point, my dad built a little outdoor shower with a hose and sprinkler set up for a cold shower.