There are so many great things about being back in North Carolina. Cheering on our alma mater, being close to family, eating great southern food, and getting to share our past with our kids.
Six years ago, after Matthew and I had been married for a little under a year, Matthew took me to Lewis Nursery and Farms in Wilmington. He would go there as a kid and they let you pick your own strawberries (and blueberries and blackberries). I remember having fun at the time and we took a lot of pictures– it was a sort of last hurrah before we moved to Wisconsin for the summer.
This past weekend, we went back there for the first time. We knew Ella would love it and I was so excited for all the great pictures we could take. My most stage mom moment to date is the fashion show I had Ella do the day before so that we could decide on her outfit. It’s a good thing that when it comes to clothes and all girly things, Ella is exactly like me.
And Jack is too little to care what he’s wearing…
…or that he’s matching with his sister.
(This is the first time I’ve ever really had them in identical outfits and… it won’t be the last, officially)
We all had such a great time. The weather was perfect, the strawberries were too. Ella got juice all over hands and legs but she loved running up and down the rows, spotting red in the sea of green. Jack was easy to mange, which is about all you can ask of him at this point. But my favorite part of the day was seeing how happy Matthew was. Matthew loves Wilmington; I always tease him about being a townie. He always notes if it’s high or low tide and how Wilmington has the best spanish moss and the best marshes and schools and neighborhoods and people and air. We cross the border into New Hanover County and his posture changes and his eyes light up. He recounts the same childhood stories I’ve been hearing for years like it’s the first time. He went to Lewis Farms when he was Ella’s age, his mom teaching him how to pick the strawberries without pulling the stem just as she taught on Ella on Saturday.
I loved watching him watch his daughter retrace his steps. There’s no such thing as a perfect childhood but there are those moments and experiences that are perfectly preserved in our memories and the fabric of who we become as adults. Wilmington is so much a part of who Matthew is and I can’t help but love it, too. And I do make fun of him but Matthew’s history is part of the husband and father we are so blessed to have.
And this weekend, we were happy to have history repeat itself.