I sometimes wonder if I am the only person to ever burst into tears at the sight of the giant South of Border sombrero. I had been driving a U-Haul truck for two days from South Florida with all of my belongings in tow. When I crossed the North Carolina border fifteen years ago this week, I was overwhelmed with happiness that I was finally a NC resident. A few hours later when my sister and I unloaded my furniture, mostly hand-me-downs from my mom’s house, I realized that I was moving to a town where I knew exactly two people.
While I technically grew up in Florida and still consider it home, I have to say that I actually became a grown up while living here. I had my first dose of true responsibility and unconditional love when I adopted my first dog from the Wake County Animal Shelter a few days after unpacking, who promptly repaid the favor by chewing up my bed. After months of planning my dream wedding, I said “I do” to my husband in the sanctuary at North Raleigh United Methodist church. I learned to drive in snow in the Target parking lot off Glenwood, signed my first mortgage papers in a lawyer’s office in North Raleigh and held my babies for the first time at Rex Hospital. And when the ice storm knocked down 23 trees in our yard while my husband was in Texas, I kept looking around for a grownup to tell me what to do and realized that I was actually the grown up in the room.
No matter how many other places I live in my life, Triangle will always hold a space place in my heart. And I have to admit that I still get teary every time I see the giant sombrero.