Going Home - Staying Connected Featured
Fear. It's what I'm feeling right now. Overwhelming angst. Panic. Anxiety.
I've been reading a lot lately about writing, because I want to improve. It's what I love to do, and I'd like to get better at it. I just read this article on Twitter about this CRAZY thing you can do to be an inspired writer. Just take what you're feeling at the moment, and write about it. Simple, right? I decided to give it a go. Well... here is the result.
I'm scared to death of what I'm about to do!
This summer I managed to wrangle all five of my kids, one of their spouses, and my grandson into going HOME for a visit with me. My brother and most of his family joined us also. It was a FEAT! I thought at the time, 'if I can pull this off, I will be able to accomplish ANYTHING I set out to do, ever again, from here on out!' Well... I did it. We didn't just go visit family, we took a daytrip (and into the night) to New York City while we were there! Many of us experienced the Big Apple for the very first time in our lives, even though my brother and I were born and raised in Upstate NY. I spent my first 37 years of life there. But, NYC! It was exciting! A dozen Upstate NY transplants, now living in Nebraska and Kansas, walking down Wallstreet, taking the ferry and the subway, eating at a pizza shop, snapping pics at the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park. We did it all! Fourteen people (my best friend and her daughter were our tour guides)... fourteen hours... It was a blast! An experience I will NEVER forget. And, I got to do this with my family! When I am an old, old woman, I will tell my great grandchildren all about my first trip to the big city (at 50 years old). Lol!!
We attended family reunions, BIG ones! We had a few bonfires - my personal favorite - drank a few beers, listened to our kids sing and play guitars in my mom's back yard. My parents live in the sticks, just up the hill from the dairy farm where I grew up. They have Amish neighbors. Watching a horse and buggy trot by daily was a pretty spectacular sight! Very nostalgic. Sometimes, we could hear them singing. I just wanted to run out to the dirt road and hop on their buggy and sing along with them. Do you think they would mind? :D
We also spread my younger brother's ashes in his favorite place, back in the woods behind my parents' home. We planted a tree for my mom in her front yard, in his honor. That was tough. We had our tough times, just like everybody. We were a BIG family. I have step siblings, half-siblings, full-blooded siblings, and that dynamic is always tricky; but, when push comes to shove... we are all family. When my younger brother was murdered almost two years ago, we all felt the pain. This summer, many of us came together to honor his memory. I was so proud of us. All of us. We took time out... to recognize the fact that one of us was missing; and he wasn't coming back... ever. Yep! It was tough. But, we all still have each other, even though we live miles apart. This trip changed me.
Which brings me to this BIG thing that is causing me so much anxiety. After living in Nebraska for the past 13 years, seven of them as a single mom (of those five kids), I have decided to move back home. Home. Think about it. Home is not a geographical location. It's a place, yes. But, it's a place where you feel comfortable. A place where you feel like you belong. Look back up there where I referred to myself as a transplant.
I live in Nebraska. I have been here for a long time. I really do like it here, most of the time; but, it's not home. I haven't known my current circle of friends since I was a little girl. I did not grow up with them. We didn't hang out in the same haunts as teens. We didn't go to the same school for 12 years together. We didn't get in trouble together. They weren't the ones that came to visit me in the hospital every time I had a baby. All of my kids were born in NY.
My friends here are very precious to me. They've helped me through some tough times; like divorce, finding a job (after being a stay-at-home mom for almost 20 years), helping my kids with broken down cars, attending funerals with me. They've lent me money when I had no idea how I was going to pay the bills. They've cried and prayed with me on many, many occasions. And, I DO have family close by. My brother is a quick four hour drive south, and my oldest daughter just a little more. We've traveled back and forth for holidays and family visits since 2005. Wonderful, wonderful visits - Easter, Christmas, birthdays, and weddings... the birth of my grandson, and graduations. I do not lack, believe me!
But... I want to go home. It's where I belong. It's where I came from. It's where 'MY' people are. My classmates, my friends, my family... a lot of them are still there, in that tiny, little town where I grew up. Cows, churches, bars, wildlife, snow.... LOTS of snow! Believe it, or not; it's where I want to be. Home.
Why the angst, anxiety? I love my kids, my family, the friends I've grown close to in the past 13 years. I really do! If you've read any of my other articles on this site, you'll understand that I am a nostalgic, family-oriented person; maybe more than anyone you've ever known. My kids, my friends, my home that I've worked so hard to create over the past several years - I am SO going to miss them! How can someone live in two places at once? If I could, I definitely would! I long to go home, but I hate leaving.
Aside from the obvious, painstaking stresses of moving... packing, leaving my job, finding a new one, finding a new place to live - there's the anguish of leaving my kids and their new families, my grandson (only a year old), leaving my job of four years. I found the perfect job for me here. The atmosphere I work in is awesome! It's very ME!
I just need to go home. For most of my adult life, I've lived far from home. My parents didn't get to see my kids grow up... not really. Even 1300 miles away, as we are now, they've seen more of my kids than they did when we lived an hour and a half away from them in NY - through Facebook. I know a lot of people think of Facebook as a negative thing, but it has been a Godsend for me... and my family. My mom doesn't miss anything! I make a post about Hannah's college recital... she's on the phone congratulating her on a job well done. My recent weight loss... she encourages me on every single phone call... and 'likes' every single post. If I don't post anything new or positive in a week's time, she's on the phone asking what's wrong. She's tuned in, connected.
This is how I know we'll be okay. My kids use all the social media... Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram. They've made sure I know how to use them too. We're good. I won't miss anything! We will have a connection that was never available before. I will get to SEE my grandson as often as I want. I can witness all the little things that happen in my kids' lives.
And... I'll be back. I've decided not to sell my house here. After I've been HOME long enough (I think I'll know when it's time), I can come back. My kids will scatter. I know they won't stay in this town... or state forever. But, when I come back, I will be centrally located, able to visit to my heart's content! I'll have a place to come back to. At that point, I may just feel like I'm coming HOME.