It’s always nice to see where you come from. This past Christmas, I had the chance to go back to where I started my life in the beautiful land of Miami Lakes. My family was down there visiting extended family for Christmas, and we spent a day traveling back to the neighborhood we lived in while my sister and I were in our early years. I have faint memories of this townhouse on a lake. I lived here until I was 5 years old before we relocated to a neighborhood called Boca Raton, and finally moved up permanently to Northern Virginia.
Before arriving in Miami Lakes, we stopped for a delicious cuban breakfast at a place called Sergio’s in Miami. After sipping down a cafe con leche, we were off!
My parents took so many photos and videos of me when I was young, so it is strange to wonder whether your memories are truly your own or whether they came from seeing a video of yourself. Nevertheless, traveling back to this street was magical. I walked down the road where I first learned to ride a bike, speak my first word, and take my first step.
I could see into the little window to my baby room. The street looked exactly the same as it did in the 90’s. One of the neighbors we spoke to said Miami Lakes was one of the only neighborhoods in the area that had pretty much stayed exactly the same. With the exception that the cow farm was no longer there. We had a cow farm directly across from where we lived, once they even escaped and ran free through the streets–must have been quite a scene.
My sister and I were the epitome of Miami babies: tan skin, bare tough feet, wild hair. I love the memories I have of childhood. There we are below in front of what used to be our backyard. Sometimes my family would take a small boat out and travel around the lake and numerous fountains out there.
It was so special revisiting the places my mom walked me when I was a baby in a stroller, pointing at everything, taking the world in with big curious eyes and a bald head.
We also visited a nearby lake in the neighborhood where we lived. One time, my dad, cousin, and I took a walk to this lake while my mom was very pregnant with my sister. I was about 1 and 1/2 years old, but this is a story that has been told so frequently in my family I feel like I remember it.
My Dad was entranced by an egg floating in the lake and was trying to crack it open by throwing a battery at it. In his deep concentration, he lost sight of me and I fell face first into the muddy lake. Naturally, my 8 year old cousin ran back to the house to tattle on my Dad, while my Dad ran after her holding me at arm’s length. Apparently I looked like a swamp monster.
Seeing the place I grew up from being a tiny baby is a reminder of how fast life flies by. And how much I’ve grown! It’s like retracing the steps of the ghost of who you once were. Walking down the same road you once waddled down. It’s good to stop and remind yourself where you came from, and how you became the person you are today. I think we can learn a lot about ourselves by remembering how we used to be. Childhood is such a pure and honest example of who you truly are, before the world forces you to grow up and learn the harder lessons.