There's this funny transformation that happens when a child goes away to college, they suddenly can't wait to get back home. I used to think I'd want to go off far, far away from my little house to start a new, have an adventure all my own, scrap my knees and break my heart--the kinds of adventures most country songs twang about on the radio. I was going to be on my own for the first time.
But being on my own, so to speak--come on, it's college, a safety bubble all its own--being on my own, it's shed some light on those old feelings of wanting to run farther from the place I grew up.
Home. It's a place to recharge, to regain all the strength I need to keep going on this journey. No, I don't mean a good night's rest or a good home cooked meal, I've learned to master those in my own house. What I mean is, there's this energy within my family that fuels me and reminds me of the person I am, who I want to be, and how I can keep going. That cheering sound that resonates in my head every time I get up in the morning to keep going, keep dancing, keep working towards what I want. That helps so much when you're tired and ready to turn out the light on this dream even for a second.
I can always go home. My family has made that known to me from day one. What a wonderful notion to have, that any time I need it, I can jump in my car and head down to 235 where the excitement will burst once I cross the state line. That's usually when I call Mom to let her know I'm close and head for Chick-fil-a, I'll be there soon! My heart starts pumping as soon as I lay my eyes on the familiar sites of home. The closer, I get to my house, the more I can't wait to hop of out my car and throw the door open to my safe spot. Let the recharging begin! I know I can come here any time.
Even in the times where I know I made wrong choices, dug my heels in on things I knew better than to do, I could always go home. That's something, really. I've never realized how precious that is, how some people are not that lucky, to have a home waiting for me. To be there even after the arguments I've caused, the scares, the frustration and irritation I've put upon them while being miles apart, worried sick over what poor choice I might make next, I could always come home. And each and every time I did, I found a bit of myself again, the answers to those questions of "what should I do? Why does my heart ache over this?"
I guess it's a calling card stamped on your heart the moment you enter this world. My personal Jiminy Cricket has one heck of a loud mouth and plays my heart strings like piano. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just my roots coming back to say, "HEY! What did you Momma tell you?! Is your last name *insert whatever name here*?!" <--That was always a personal favorite of Mom's. You know what I'm talking about:
Me: "But Mom! Suzy Sunshine got to do that?"
Mom: "Is your name Suzy Sunshine?!"
And yes, that little voice can be extremely annoying on occasion, but when (if) I take the time to stop and listen to that tiny voice for even a moment, I can listen to my heart in whatever it's saying. Most of the time, I know that's Home's way of checking in, to make sure I've really learned from those previous incidents.
I guess I reflect on that now more than anything because it does seem rather ironic that I spent so much time of dreaming to move away, start a new life in some other state, city, doing whatever and I never really factored in how my heart would ache once I walked away from home. The longer I've been away, the harder it's actually gotten and chances are that if you've visited me in the last year, I've ended up a puddle once you've left. Sometimes I wait to see you car (or truck) turn the corner so you don't think I'm the crazy woman I really am. Sometimes all you have to do is hug me. I have learned to cope once a visitor leaves and that usually entails me wandering the aisles of Target with my tear-stained face.
But Grandma has always said tears are the safety valve of the heart--and I believe it and I'm not afraid to use it either, even in class (yeah, this semester was that bad). And I say all this because I'm in desperate need for a trip home. Desperate to be in the place where I can recharge for a bit before I jump back into the last haul of this process, the last leg of this race. I'll find all I'll need at the end of that three hour drive, waiting for me with arms spread wide open.
It's the warmth of my mother's arms around me as she pulls me in for the first hug I've had from her in months, the kind where it feels like she's going to squeeze the stuffings out of you. It's my Daddy smiling to say, "I'm really glad you're home, kiddo," and I know he means it by the way he bobs his curly head. It's Piper jumping up down like a crazed animal that she is and crying, she's so happy to see me and then proceeding to run donuts around our living room floor to show off. Good golly, I love that animal! Just thinking on this reunion could make me weep with such joy and anticipation.
Get ready, Fam! I'm coming home as fast as I can!