I was in Medford this weekend, and everywhere I went there were traces of you.
When we drove down and passed the town of Rogue River, I remembered the first time you let me drive with you in the car. It was on a trip back from Eugene (where we had visited Brian & his bride-to-be) and you pulled over in the town of Rogue River to let me drive the rest of the way home. I had never seen you so nervous in your life as you turned over the wheel to me.
Once we checked in to our hotel, I looked out our balcony and saw a familiar site – Hawthorne Park, the place where you took us every summer for our swimming lessons! I remember each time we would pull in the parking lot, my tummy filled with nervous butterflies, but you encouraged us to do our best and we dutifully marched in, looking up frequently to see you sitting in the bleachers just outside watching us. I remember Grandpa Gene was in town one year, too, and we tried ultra hard that day to impress the two of you! 🙂
Soon we decided we should go get some snacks for the hotel, so for old times’ sake we drove down to Food4Less, where I tagged along on so many grocery shopping trips over the years. I could almost picture you, buzzing through the store in your familiar route, moving quickly and efficiently because there was always somewhere to be or something to do with a family of four kids!
We also made a stop at Ali’s Thai Kitchen, where I remember sitting with you as we sipped on a Thai Iced Tea or Coffee. Such a yummy place!
I drove past our old home, where I lived from age six until age eighteen, when I left for college. You still lived there for a few years past my leaving, so it was a welcome refuge to come home to. Although the home has since been drastically renovated and doesn’t even look like the same house, it was still comforting to drive by and see that mailbox that read “4144”, our house number. So many evenings sitting in that home in the living room, just talking and talking until it was bedtime. I continued past the house up to the duck pond and remembered the countless walks up and down that road that our family took. I kept driving further to the spot at the top of the hill where we first lived in that mobilehome for a few months when we first arrived in Medford. What a view!
The next morning, we went to church at South Valley , the church that you & Dad planted with the team in Medford so many years ago. It was our reason for moving to Medford. I remembered how much work you put in over the years to serve God and the church and your family. I remembered all the amazing friendships that were like family that we had with people there. I remembered feeling the power of Jesus in that church. And as I sat in the nursery with my own children, I saw hanging on the wall a quilt that you had coordinated putting together with other ladies in the church. I peeked on the backside and saw your handwriting, listing all the ladies’ names and the date of October 2004. I felt so close to you.
As we left town, I wiped the tears from my eyes and tried to soak in the last few minutes of remembering you. Your traces are everywhere in that town. I miss you so much, and it was comforting (and very difficult, at the same time) to be surrounded by so much that reminded me of you. How blessed I feel to have had such an amazing Mom all those years.
I love you!