Saturday, October 14, 2006

Old Stomping Grounds

I recently went to Las Vegas with my parents so they could go with an old family friend to his temple sealing. We had some time to kill before the sealing, so we drove around Las Vegas visiting our old stomping grounds. We went to the house my mom lived in when she was in high school and the house my dad lived in as a kid and during part of his teenage years. We saw a couple of the old church buildings they attended and even their old high school. We also went to to my old neighborhood and saw the house I lived in when I was a little girl up until we moved to Iowa when I was 12 years old. As we drove down the street I was thinking to myself, "I'm so glad I didn't grow up here." The neighborhood wasn't that great anymore and the house I had loved so much was in disrepair. The pomegranite trees we had loved and harvested every year were overgrown and their rotting fruit lay strewn on the ground underneath. The grass was dead and the same old blinds hung in the windows. As we drove through Las Vegas and I saw how dirty and sad the city has become I thought on what I would have been or where I would be now if we had stayed in that same house and I had gone to high school at Eldorado. Scary!

I thought back to when my dad told us we would be moving to Iowa so that he could go back to school and what a terrible blow that was to me. I was so worried about leaving the only home I had ever known and going some place far away from everyone that I knew. It was uber-scary! Then I thought back on how wonderful Iowa was. I thought of all the wonderful people I met - the Halls, Baldwins, Bells, McFates, Naylors, Andreasens, and many, many more. I thought of the wonderful education I got. I thought of how my testimony grew due to the wonderful YW leaders I had. Many of the things that shaped my life happened in Iowa and I was suddenly so grateful to my parents to making a decision that I know was even harder for them.

My parents and I talked about how we were all grateful we had left almost 15 years ago. Then last night I was watching CSI with JJ and it was about these teenagers that participate in "fannysmackins" - which is when they beat up on people as a game. For those of you that don't know, CSI takes place in Las Vegas. They talked at the end of the show about how some of the kids were kids that had never caused any problems, but got caught up with the wrong crowd. It made me think a lot about my own Las Vegas roots and how my life is different because my parents listened to the still small voice that told them to move their family across the country. I text messaged my brother a few days later and we both agreed our lives are better for moving to Iowa. As Russell put it, "You've could have married a gang member."