Sometimes in life you have to get a little lost before you are truly able to find your way.

Posts tagged ‘Home’

I am who you made me, so thanks!


This world is wildly unbalanced. So many children grow up with no parents at all. And I not only grew up with two biological parents, but a whole host of pseudo-parents as well. Yes, my parents were divorced, but they were still there, loving and supporting me. And I had all kinds of other parents…my doctor and his wife (my mom’s best friend), my best friend’s parents, my older siblings, my fiance’s parents…I could go on.

I look at this (partial) list of all of these people who have loved and guided me through life at different stages and I cannot help be be overwhelmed by such immense gratitude. But today is Mother’s Day. So I want to say a HUGE HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all those moms, pseudo-moms, adoptive moms, etc., whether you’re in my life or you just happened to stumble across this post. You are doing something WONDERFUL. But I have a special message for my real mom….

You have empowered me. You have kept me going. You have been there for all the panicked phone calls and cries for help……when I was three years old, and today when I am thirty-three. The issues might have changed, but your love and support never have.

You have made me strong. You taught me over and over that I could do anything I put my mind to, and that nothing in this world was too hard to overcome. You told me over and over that as long as I had my friends and my family, that was all I would ever need to be successful. As it turns out I have had to measure my success differently than most, and all those lessons paid off. Had I not learned them early I fear for where I might be now. Thank you for that wisdom so early on.

You encouraged me to write. I did…and still do! You encouraged my creativity and allowed me to make giant messes just to see what it was I was trying to get to….thank you. You encouraged me to explore, and to follow my heart, no matter where it led…even when that was scary for you because it meant trekking off to the other side of the planet for half the year, or moving to California. The good news is, my heart has always led me home to my family, just as I’m pretty sure you knew it would.

You tried to teach me to cook…sorry about that one. 🙂 I’m getting better…slowly.

You taught me that believing in myself would always be rewarded. What I see now though, is that some of the very best parts of me, are really you, shining out from inside, instilled in me ages ago. You are so much a part of the woman I am today. Thank you for being such an incredible mom. I wish I could be with you today, and closer to you everyday.

Happy Mother’s Day

xoxo

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Can’t Go Wrong With Ninjas, Divas and Three Drivers

I lived out in Sacramento for a few years after college. When I moved back east, saying goodbye to the friends I had made there was one of the hardest things I had ever done. That was one of the reasons why I sympathized so much with my friend Sarah when she called me from Sac-town several months ago saying she thought she might need to move back east. YAHOO! (for me anyway!) From that moment on everything moved at warp speed. By the time Sarah says something out loud she’s already made up her mind. We’re a lot alike in that regard.

She mentioned in passing, in an e-mail I think, how great it would be if she could just fly me out and we could drive back together. So I simply replied…”I’m in!” The response came almost immediately: “I’m jumping up and down. I’m literally jumping up and down in my office. Oh my God, are you kidding me? You’ll really come?” Ahhhh…yeah, I’m gonna pass up a free flight to one of my favorite places in the world and a week with one of my best friends…that sounds sane. Once that decision was made, our journey unfolded from there.

With a few weeks of Sarah-planning, here’s what we ended up with. Tommy (Sarah’s soon-to-be brother-in-law) and I had flights booked out to Sacramento. Sarah had her job transferred, her belongings shipped, and had moved into a friend’s house with her dog. She is nothing if not efficient. (Her slightly satanic cat stayed behind at her old house with her roommate until moving day.) There were THREE going-away parties planned, which is only barely sufficient if you actually know this girl. The week was NONSTOP!!! Between arrivals and parties and finishing work and surfing and packing…it was a whirlwind! Here’s a taste of what it all looked like….

The night before we hit the road, Sarah’s closest friends gathered to celebrate and say goodbye. There was food…

There were gifts, and stories…

There was a lot of comforting one another!

And the next morning came the final goodbyes…everyone said there would be no crying….

That didn’t really work out so well…for anyone, actually. Yeah, that brave face held on for about another 2 seconds!

At some point everyone just gave up trying not to cry. There’s a thin line between tears and laughter…turns out it’s Sarah!

Even the mighty Sarah was a fountain that day…and rightfully so. It’s an amazing place and what an incredible crew to have to leave behind. They really are a little bit of magic.

Then we were off!

There had been an original plan for our route back east, then a revised plan, maybe one more after that. But then came the day of plan which rocked because I’d never driven this route before. We took Rt. 50 over the Sierra into Tahoe…

Photo Credit: Tommy Boll

then 395 down the east side of the mountains past Mono Lake…

Photo Credit: Tommy Boll

Then we hit Mammoth, Death Valley….

And later than night, Vegas!

Photo Credit: Tommy Boll

The next day we hit the Grand Canyon and then we were in full cruise mode. Pandora’s Classic Hip Hop station became the soundtrack for the better part of our journey. We had fun with Mad Libs (ninjas and divas specifically – the ninjas were the best!), state trivia, songs that brought us all back to the good old days (that would be the 80s and early 90s by the way) and of course the staple of any good lengthy road trip…updates on everyone’s bowels…who had one in the hopper and who’d finally cleared the hopper and who would definitely be needing to clear the hopper first when we arrived at our hotel that evening. Good times.

We made incredible time, despite all the stops. We got back here to Virginia about half a day ahead of schedule, so Tommy and Sarah decided to keep on truckin’ and surprise the anxiously waiting sister and bride-to-be by arriving in the wee hours of the morn’.

The thing about a trip like this is, that it can be miserable and long and painfully boring, even to the point that it drives you nearly mad. Or, if you’re lucky enough to be travelling with such great companions as I had, it goes by in a flash. And before you know it, you’re back home again wondering how on earth you crossed so many miles in such a short time. But you’ve got some awesome memories and great pictures and Mad Libs that have you rolling on the floor no matter how many times you read them!

For me there was the added bonus of being able to go back to Sacramento (thanks SAS!) and visit with so many people who are dear to me. I also got to reconnect with a place that long ago captured not just my imagination, but a piece of my heart. And even better than that, I got to be there for my friend as she made her trek back east and said goodbye to it all…at least for a while. So journey on my friend, your story continues in the east for now. And never a dull page have you written! So here’s to great friends both near and far; spontaneous trips to retrieve all the Sarahs of the world (could there be more than one??); and surviving it all with a killer cat in the car! Oh yeah…meet Princess Kiki!

Sarah: "Kitty...stop growling. That's not nice. And please stop clawing my leg or you'll have to go back in your giant cage."

And if you’re worried about how much time she spend in the cage…check out the left side of this pic…it should ease your mind!

It’s actually a large dog crate…she was ridin’ in style! Smallest passenger, largest cabin…the things we’ll do for love (or survival…whatever you want to call it!)

Where is home?

The concept of home is a challenging one for me. There are so many ways to interpret it. Where I was born, where I grew up, where I have spent the most amount of time, where I
feel most connected to (geographically, that is), where my friends and family are, where the man I love is. If only all of those things could be in the same place! But of course, as the case is for most people, they are in quite different places for me. I was born and raised (for most of my childhood and adolescence) in northern Massachusetts. I went to school six hours away in Pennsylvania. I moved to California, a place I had fallen in love with as a child and somehow “knew” was the place where I belonged. I spent 6 months studying abroad in Tanzania, a place I had known I would go to since before grade school. I lived in New Hampshire while I got my Master’s degree and got engaged. I have lived in Virginia for six years, during the most productive time in my career as well as the most painful moments of my life, and all the moments that followed while I put myself back together.  My friends are scattered far and wide across the country. Most of my family is scattered along the Eastern Seaboard from top to bottom. I am not married. I have not worked in my field for three years. I am in transition. But where will I find myself when I begin the next chapter? The place that feels most like home? (Sacramento) Or somewhere closer to most of the people I love – perhaps here in Virginia?

People always say “home is where the heart is” and “just follow your heart; it will always lead you home.” What if my heart is scattered in all directions, pieces of it residing in the places I love most, California and Tanzania, and pieces fumbling around trying to keep up with all the people I love all over the country? For a time, I was convinced that I could not be happy anywhere but northern California. Then it came time to go, and the ties that bind me to the people on the East Coast fortified themselves, and I chose to stay. The pattern has repeated itself. I find that now I am, for whatever reason, inclined to stay here, though I still ache to be back in Sacramento. My mother always taught me that home is where your friends and family are. I know this is the reason I’m still here. And perhaps it will keep me here. But I’m not sure if it will ever convince me that this place is truly home.

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