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Carolina

July 17, 2006

I wish my name was Carolina. Or Caroline. Instead, it’s Carolyn. I go by Carole. Until I was in the 7th grade, I spelled it Carol. Then I added an ‘e’ — so now it’s Carole. That’s just a bit of trivia I thought I’d pass on…at no extra cost to you.

This past week, I relocated my daughter, Christie, to Greensboro, North Carolina. If you’ve never been to North Carolina, you are surely missing a treat. I think it may be the best state in the US. You’ve got mountains to the west…beaches to the east…and lots and lots of culture and city life in-between. Everytime I go to North Carolina, I get a “hankerin’ ” to relocate there.

I remember back when Christie was in middle school and high school, I’d say to her, “I hope you go to the University of North Carolina because it’s a great place to live and visit.” She’d blow me off like most kids do when their parents start planning their future.

But lo’ and behold, this past weekend, we moved her in to her first apartment and she begins teaching at UNC-Greensboro in August as she works on her Master’s degree.

I’m really proud of that little girl. Teaching college at the ripe old age of 21! She amazes me. In my opinion, she should be a poster child for children of single parents. She’s really incredible.

My mother, sisters and I (and Christie) worked really hard setting up her apartment. My mother especially did a lot of work “re-creating” scrapped furniture to make her some “chic” furnishings. After we’d pooled our stuff, and received some hand-me-downs from friends…she really has a nice little place to live for the next year.

Leaving her there was harder than I thought it would be. Greensboro is a bigger city than what we’re used to. She cried. I cried. And all the way home Jack complained about his heart hurting. I wasn’t sure if I needed to stop by an emergency room or if it was just broken from leaving his sister.

I know she’ll be fine. She’s smart and I know God is in control. He’s got tremendous plans for her. She may not know it…but I do.

It was good to take a break from work and go to North Carolina. We took two days off from the moving and work of setting up housekeeping to go to the beach. My mom actually went to the beach with us…something she has never done.

Jack had an incredible time at the beach. He played in the ocean to his heart’s content. I’ve never seen him enjoy himself so much as he did with that boogie board in the ocean.

On the drive back home to Tennessee, I could not escape the idea that “maybe I should just pack up and move to North Carolina too.” There was an emptiness in “my own heart” as I returned home. I can’t say that I would have felt the same way about moving though if she had chosen to accept the assistantship in Atlanta or Washington, DC. I know that I don’t belong in either of those two places.

I came in to work on Friday after getting back, and a co-worker said to me, “Carole, do you ever get the feeling you’re not where you are supposed to be or that you should be doing something else?”

I don’t know if it was a “message” from God…or just a random thought. But the answer is obviously, “yes.”

Then I have another friend who is constantly telling me, “You are exactly where you are supposed to be.”

And sometimes I think…”yes” to that comment too.

Such contrast, huh?

I wish I knew for sure.

Driving home from and through North Caroline…every now and then, I’d get off the interstate for a bathroom break or a snack. Since it was just Jack and I travelling, I’d ease off down the streets of some of these random towns and wonder “would I fit in here?”

I don’t know the answer. I’m 43 years old…probably too old to start all over in any place. But then I think, starting over couldn’t be as bad as feeling like sometimes you are just “muddling” through. You know…”stuck.”

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Oh well…

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