Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You Can't Go Home Again - Or Can You?

This weekend was wonderful. I got to spend a lot of time with my family and since they are one of the most important things in my life, it was a true blessing. I wouldn't be where I am today, or the person I am today, without them. They've stuck by me even when they didn't understand or agree with my choices, and I will forever love them for it.

My brothers, my Dad, and my Grandmother, 2009

I had a semi-meltdown when I got back home on Sunday night. Why? Because I live five and a half hours away from my family and I miss them. We're a close-knit family and not being able to see them for months on end is hard. Of course, they visit me when they can, but it's not as often as we would like. I'm blessed to have my little brother living in the same town as me, but my parents, my grandmother, my brother and sister-in-law, plus my niece and nephew, and numerous cousins, all live on the western end of the state.

My Dad and my nephew
Sometimes I think I should move back home. But then I realize that I absolutely love living where I do. Place is a big factor for me. I need to be happy where I live - in my home, in my neighborhood, and in my community. And I am very happy with all three of those at this point in my life.

My Mom and My Daughter
If I moved back home, I wouldn't have that, and I especially wouldn't have the opportunities that I do here. This end of the state is economically richer and, dare I say it, the mentality is much more positive. I'm not quite sure why that is - maybe it's because the land and the weather is harder to deal with in Western Nebraska. Farmers must irrigate, and drought and hail storms that wipe out entire fields of crops are not uncommon. It may have made the people tougher, but I think it's also contributed to some negativity. This is a broad assumption and certainly not everyone is this way, but I can always feel the subtle shift in the air when I come home.

But even so, if I moved back home, I would have my family.

It's a conundrum, for sure, and the situation would be a whole lot easier to bear if I could just have a private plane take me home whenever I wanted. Of course, the drive really isn't that bad. But when you work full-time and have limited vacation time, weekends are about all you can manage, and they are incredibly long weekends when you consider you're on the road for 12 hours total.

Still. When I have weekends like I did this past time, I tend to look at my hometown with rose-colored glasses. Since my brothers organized a school alumni basketball tournament, a lot of people were in town. We went out on Saturday night and I had a blast catching up with people and seeing where everyone had taken their lives since they graduated high school.

It made me incredibly sentimental, and I suddenly longed to be a part of this town again. But to live amongst people you've known your entire life can be a two-edged sword. There's an element of comfort, but I've come to discover that a lot of the relationships shaped in high school tend to be the same today. There are those you still get along with, and those you don't.

On the long drive home (when you have plenty of time to think), I was feeling rather nostalgic and, a bit depressed at leaving. But then I discovered that I'd idealized this weekend. Simply put, the events of this weekend are rather rare. My small town is normally very quiet, subdued, and, well, a small town with all its small town elements - especially the one where everyone knows everyone else's business! I love visiting, but I just couldn't live there again.

At this point in my life, this is how it is. My family is there, and I am here. Thank goodness for e-mail, Facebook, and phones so we can keep in touch. Thank goodness for special events, holidays, and impromptu trips that get us together. I am fortunate - I could live clear across the country from them and only see them once a year. So I'm going to count my blessings.

Do you live in or near your hometown, or has destiny taken you miles and miles away?


  1. My whole family lives within a 45 minute radius, but my husband's family lives far away.

    We've thought about moving somewhere with cheaper housing, but that would mean moving away from family, which I don't think I'd like.

  2. Patti - It's always a battle between the head and the heart for me. It is cheaper to live where my family is, but there's a price to be paid for that - much less opportunity. Always pros and cons to everything, I guess. :-)

  3. It's always such a tough decision and, as you say, there are pros and cons to everything.

    I feel exactly the same when I go 'home'. I start wishing I lived there. When I've been there a while though, I have to get away. I usually go home for some special event too and get sentimental and nostalgic. I forget that, most of the time, it's pretty dull. :)

  4. Shirley - Exactly. I have to get away after awhile, too. I was only home for a few days and it was crammed full of activity, so I didin't have any "down time." I forget that when I've been there for around a week or so, I'm itching to get back to the city!

  5. As a kid, I moved every couple of years and so I missed out on having a true hometown. Amy, on the other hand has lived here in Ellensburg since she was 4 and so this is her hometown.

    My parents live two hours away but I don't see them a whole lot because of the mountain pass which can be bad for many months of the year. I miss them too.

    Stuart and I joke about moving to Hawaii some day, but truthfully, I want to live near Amy, wherever that may be. I don't think I could ever be very far from her, and go for months or years without seeing her. That would be unbearable.

  6. Valerie - I can so relate. I don't want to be far from my daughter when she is off to college or wherever, either. But then again, she has plans to go save the tigers in Africa... :-)

    I was born and raised in my hometown and so were my parents. With the exception of a few years here and there, they've mostly lived there their entire lives. Most of my extended family is there, too, so when I go home, I always feel like I've missed out on things. But I guess we have to do what is best for us, and for me, it's best that I live here. :-)

  7. I felt your heart. This post could have been written by me. I have lived in florida for 10 years now and when I go home to PA and see all my friends and family, I want so badly to be there. Life goes fast and it is nice to be with those we love.

  8. It sounds like you have the best of both worlds ... Family is truly a car ride away. It's a long one, but it's do-able so you know they are always within reach. I don't live in my hometown, but do live in the same state. And actually, I consider where I live now to be my hometown!

  9. It was so great having you here but I also know how much you love where you live. When that publisher shows up that I have been praying for - you can buy a plane and fly here in a few hours instead of 12 - wouldn't that be wonderful? Love you:-)

  10. Terri - Pennsylvania is a LONG way from Florida! I know it must be hard for you.

    Joanne - I like your attitude! I don't know if I'll ever consider where I live now to be my hometown...I'm hoping my daughter does, though. :-)

    Mom - Oh boy. Buy a plane? I better write one heck of a book!
    :-) It was great to come home and can't wait to see you for Easter!!!

  11. I've been hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away from my family since I was 17.

    You're blessed to have a close-knit, supportive family. Yes, the drive is long, but it really does sound like you have the best of both worlds.

  12. I'm far, far from home at this point - I grew up in Ottawa, Ontario and now live on the coast of BC. My mum is still in Ottawa (in the home where she raised us) and my sister lives in Saskatchewan, half-way between us. It's a two to three day drive to SK and a four to five day drive back to Ottawa, so pretty much impossible to do weekend visits unless we fly.

    It can be hard, but we're lucky that here we have family too - my in-laws, brother/sister-in-law and their children and several of Sean's uncles and aunts. And we keep in touch with the rest of the family via facebook/email/phone.

  13. In EVERYTHING give thanks, and be content today. Yes, count your blessings. There may be distance among families, but be thankful you have a loving family that you still communicate with. So many don't have that blessing. Tim's family has become my family, because I am hundreds of miles away from my own loving family. ANd now my own children are hundreds of miles from me. I wish you and Janel could get together out there in Lincoln. It would be recononecting with even more family in your community.

  14. Christine - That would be incredibly hard for me to be so far away from family. But I think it also depends on the family! ;-)

    Tess - Wow. I can't imagine having to drive a few days to get home. Yeah, I wouldn't be going home very often! And yes, thank goodness for technology (and heck, good ol' handwritten letters) to help us keep in touch.

    Sandi - Y'know, Janel and I really should get together sometime. It would be fun to have a get-together when Chris and Heather are here since she and Chris were close growing up. And yes, you're absolutely right - we must give thanks in everything! I am incredibly, incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful family. :-)

  15. Oh, I always have mini regretful moments when I leave 'home' after a visit. I live thousands of miles away from my closest family way way way down in the South Pacific. i.e NZ and Australia. But we are widespread so I've family across the globe. ;-)

  16. Talei - Wow! I suppose you probably don't get home very often, then? That would be really hard for me.

  17. Destiny took me far, far away. I was born in Indiana, grew up in upstate NY, and ended up in Scotland when I was 17. I now live in England and it's been nearly twelve months since I've seen any of my family, who all live in Indiana, except for one sister in South Africa. And, like you, I think that sometime I see my hometown in Indiana with rose-tinted glasses. :)

  18. Oh wow, Erin, you're far away, too! I confess I always wanted to live in England, but I don't think I could live that many miles from home! I admire you. :-)


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