Alex's graduation from the U was on May 1 & 2.
Since that is such a big accomplishment we made the trip so he could walk across the stage and we, as his family, could show him just how proud we are.
I'm so glad we did!
I loved watching Alex soak up those graduation moments.
I can still remember my BYU graduation so vividly and it really is such a satisfying time.
I'm grateful he got to experience that too.
Plus we got to see lots of family and friends, which is always great as well!
Until this trip, I never fully understood just how much Utah had my heart.
When we made the decision to move to California, I thought my sadness was wrapped up in leaving my job and some framily. (y'know...friends/family)
And even these past months being in California I was still under that impression.
But being in Utah made me realize I left a huge chunk of my life there.
And I know that sounds silly.
Of course you carry yourself with you wherever you go.
But the life I knew for 8.5 years is along the Wasatch Front.
I've heard of nostalgia.
And I even thought I'd experienced it before.
But I was wrong.
I truly went through nostalgia during this trip.
The smells, the sounds, the billboards, the cars, the scenery, the restaurants, etc. kept taking me back to the life I knew so very well.
It took me back to my amazing college years.
The years where responsibility was next to nilch.
The years where I could (and voluntarily) stayed up until 4am multiple times a week.
The years when I lived for football games, dance parties, trips to J-Dawgs, and late night strolls through the streets south of campus.
The years when because of amazing religion professors my testimony truly and genuinely grew into what it is today.
The years when I was tried and tested in my faith and commitment.
The years when best friendships were made.
The years when I was blessed with meeting my husband and having him by my side as I finished up my degree.
The years when all my hard work, support from my family, and dedication culminated in that moment of taking that last final.
It took me back to Alex's and my dating days.
The days when we were rapidly trying to learn everything about each other.
The days when we knew "let's watch a movie" was code for "let's watch the beginning of the movie and then end up kissing for the rest of it." (Let's be honest...you've all done that.)
The days when we didn't worry about money or bills or jobs or what we're going to do for the rest of our lives.
The days when we would talk for hours. (Since neither one of us can stay up past 11:30 now...)
The days when we would talk about what we wanted the future to look like.
And then started to make that future the present.
It took me back to our newlywed months.
The months when we were overwhelmed with gratitude for the abundance of gifts.
The months when we were ecstatic to use all of those gifts.
The months when we put together our tiny apartment and made it ours.
The months when I changed my name and we finally got Utah driver's licenses.
The months when we could go wherever, whenever.
The months when we started to worry about money and bills and jobs.
The months when everything was "The first ____ as a married couple."
The months when we learned how to navigate living with the opposite gender.
The months when we turned 7 Peaks into our second residence.
The months when we got through the "hardest" year of our marriage...(according to everyone apparently.)
It took me back to the year we prepped our family to expand.
When we prayed long and hard about if it was the right choice.
When we got the answer and it was scary.
When I got pregnant...and it was even scarier.
When we planned all the excitement in telling our family.
When I suffered through first trimester ailments, fatigue, and hormones...and Alex suffered right alongside...just with much less bodily function and moodiness.
When Alex and I worked long hours to try and prepare for when he'd be in school and I'd be on maternity leave. (Now I wish we hadn't worked AS hard and had enjoyed our time together more as just the two of us.)
When we read books, listed out names, talked about parenting, what kind of birth experience we wanted, etc.
When we'd take walks together to get my pregnant body moving. And when I'd start to slow down Alex would slap my bum and say, "Giddy up, horsey."
When we went to doctor's appointments that were actually really fun because we LOVED our OB.
When we worried while I had placenta previa.
When we were over the moon relieved when I recovered from said previa.
When Alex would rub my head, back, feet, neck...lots. :)
When we sat on the couch and watched "Friends" for hours, because let's be honest...a pregnant woman in the heat of summer is a bad mix. I'd rather stay in my cool basement, thank you.
When instead of buying concert tickets, guitar equipment, or going out to dinner a lot we bought maternity clothes, baby stuff, and lots of pebble ice Route 44 waters from Sonic.
When we anxiously awaited August 1.
When we prayed about whether or not to get induced...and the answer was an overwhelming yes.
It took me back to the day I was changed.
The day when I spent 21 hours getting a little soul to the earth.
The day when I experienced pain I never knew I could endure.
The day when I relied on my family, husband, and God more than ever.
The day when I watched my doctor do "his last run."
The day when I saw my son take his first breathe, whimper his first cry, and take his first suck.
The day when I watched my husband become a father.
The day when I KNEW Creationism is real.
The day when I've never been so alive and so physically/emotionally/mentally spent all at the same time.
The day when my little Kameron became mine.
It took me back to the moments leading up to our California move.
The moments where our home became a haven for our new family.
The moments when I cried. And cried. And cried.
And not from joy.
From missing my old life.
Missing my old me.
And then crying because I felt so guilty for thinking those things since I loved my little bundle more than I could bare.
The moments when I picked myself up and realized that no...my life isn't solely mine.
The moments when I started to be ok with being more selfless and started to enjoy being a mother.
The moments when I started to be ok with my new life and my new normal.
The moments when I took Kameron on walks every day through the beautiful neighborhoods of SLC.
Sometimes with friends...sometimes just the two of us...or three of us.
The moments when I watched him smile.
The moments when I watched him roll over.
The moments when I heard him coo and giggle and discover everything his voice could do.
The moments when I went back to work and had to navigate that into my new life.
The moments when I couldn't stand how adorable he looked all bundled up for the winter weather.
I think with us deciding to make the move, it being the holiday season, and me being so upset with leaving my job...that I really didn't have a chance to say goodbye to Utah.
And maybe in some ways it's better that way.
Maybe I would've been a blubbering mess if I had really stopped to think about just how much I really do love that place.
I think ever since I went to BYU I had spent my whole Utah residency counting down the days until I was out of there.
Am I glad we moved to California?
I still know it was the best next step for our family.
(And you better believe I had a blessing and answer to prayer to prove it.)
But I am forever grateful for my time in Utah.
It's where so many amazing things happened in my life that will bless me for the rest of it.