I moved away from my childhood home when I was 18-years old and have lived no less than a four-hour flight from my family ever since.
As a student and single woman, the distance didn’t bother me. I could book a trip with a couple days’ notice and be back in town for quick visit to see my parents and grandparents.
I often remarked that the second my plane touched down, I could breathe a sigh of relief. In every way that mattered, home was where my heart was.
Now as a mom with a 17-month old in tow, traveling across the country isn’t the easy trip it once was and last-minute plans are a thing of the past. The time between my visits is growing longer and it weighs heavy on my heart that my return trips are but once or twice a year.
As someone who’s always been close to family, it’s especially tough that I don’t get back nearly as often as I’d like. It’s difficult to reconcile that my grandparents have only met their great-granddaughter a couple times because I know the joy it would bring them to see her grow-up. Yet the distance between here and there means my stopovers will always be seldom and brief.
I don’t regret the choice I made to move away from home in the latter years of my adolescence because it set me on a path to meeting my husband and having our beautiful daughter. It also laid the foundation for my chosen career and the many invaluable experiences I’ve had along the way.
Still, every time I return ‘home’ to the city where I grew-up, I feel a pang of sadness that it’s never for very long. It seems strange to be living out of a suitcase in the place all your precious childhood memories were made.
And as I religiously comb through my old keepsakes and reminisce about the long lost days of elementary school and summer camp, I can’t help but feel torn between old and new and the feeling my heart will always be caught between a rock and a far away place.