We went back to all our familiar spots and favorite places -- the places we were a year ago at this time. We stayed at our favorite hotel, right across the freeway from Children’s Medical Center. After we checked in on Thursday, we walked around the hotel and the hotel grounds. Last fall we would come here with the kids to feed the koi. Jack Henry and Brandon would throw the football. This day, Brandon and I sat on the bench in the sunshine, remembering.
We went to eat dinner, sitting outside on the patio at the Pei Wei we used to visit. Then we went to Northpark Mall. Before Anne Marie was born, we spent many an evening walking (or in my case, waddling) around this mall -- eating at Chick-Fil-A, taking Jack Henry to the Lego store, and window shopping with the girls at stores we don’t have in Oklahoma City (Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus, et al). As we walked around the mall Thursday evening, we would say things like, “Remember last year sitting at that Starbucks? Remember when we came to this store with Lincoln? Remember seeing those little ballet shoes we wanted to buy for Anne Marie?"
So many memories. We drove past our old apartment -- our home away from home. I have fond memories of that apartment. Brandon and Jack Henry curled up in a chair watching Monday Night Football. Homeschooling in the "lounge" area of our apartment building. Playing cards at our little kitchen table, with a seven-year-old dealer asking his big brother, "You're gonna hit the six, right?" Sitting down at the table eating meals that had been sent to us from old friends in Oklahoma and new friends in Dallas.
We drove past our Albertsons grocery store where we bought our groceries and the pancake house where we would go on Sunday mornings. It was bittersweet. Happy and sad all at the same time. It was good to go back and remember. I look back on our time in Dallas and, although it was hard, it was truly one of the best times of my life. I won’t ever forget those times.
As I said, we had come to Dallas because one of my favorite authors was going to be speaking at PCPC, the church we attended while we lived in Dallas. So on Friday I got up bright and early to get ready to go. And I couldn’t have asked for a better day. The speaker was amazing, and then afterward Brandon and I went back to Children’s, the only home Anne Marie ever knew. I'll have more to say in a subsequent post. For now, here are some photos I took last week.
The koi pond where we would come with the kids:
I love these statues of the little children by the koi pond:
Just like old times, as soon as the fish heard footsteps on the bridge, they would rush to the top, hoping for some food: