Many years have past since I have spent time at home, the place where I come from and spent so many years of my life. I remember when I first left, I cried, vowed to visit all the time, and refused to call myself anything but a New Yorker. It was hard to adjust to living somewhere new and for awhile, I thought I would never learn to love anywhere as much as I had loved where I came from. I was happy to have made the change, but swore to always stay connected to my roots.
As time went on, life happened and suddenly I found myself adjusting to my new life. I learned to appreciate the things my new environment had to offer and began to fall in love with this place I had moved. After awhile, memories began to fade away, I didn’t have time to visit as often, and that connection I had felt seemed to slowly disappear. I am sad to say that eventually, it got to the point that I had not visited for years and seemed to only have faded memories of this place that was so dear to my heart.
And so years later I have ventured back home with my son. I am overwhelmed by images, as I drive around telling him stories of my childhood, pointing out all the important places of my past. Things I did not remember and had completely disconnected with are suddenly in the forefront of my mind, pulling at my heart and causing emotions to flow. My son’s curiosity and excitement has filled me with love and pride for this place that truly has been a large part of the person I am today. I feel excited and joyful to be back here and find I have developed a deep appreciation for this place I once was eager to leave.
I sit here in gratitude for so many things. I am grateful for the changes I have made that have allowed me to open my heart and embrace my past. I am grateful for the people in my life who are permanently engraved in my mind and heart, the simplest phrase or word making me laugh and remember. I am grateful that certain things never change, allowing me to show my son where I come from, so many years later. Most of all I am grateful that I still have a place to call home, filled with family and friends that love me and accept me as if I never even left. No matter how far I may ever get and no matter how much time may pass, my home will always be this place where I come from, full of so much meaning and absolutely irreplaceable.