Thursday, July 5, 2012

East vs. Midwest

Last Friday night, my husband and I packed the kids and assorted paraphernalia into the car to head east, young family, for my family reunion. For once, we were traveling to the east coast to visit my family, instead of heading up north to see his. (Prior to our Washington Trip in March, I had not left the Midwest since 2006. That, my friends, is a very long time to not see hills or proper trees.)

I spent the first ten years of my life in Upstate New York. Although I don't think about it often, I remember the fog, the hills and the trees- giant, mature trees that do not need stakes or wire to hold them up. I remember the view being interrupted by landforms... not... flatness.

(Is "flatness" a word? And did you know that my state has been scientifically proven to be flatter than a pancake?)

I don't think about the East Coast much. I mean, it's there, obviously, but for so many years it has been simply the place where I started life or the place where my extended family lives. I am so busy here that I don't stop and think about it often. Every once in a while, footage will roll across the TV and I will be struck by those green hills and mature trees and think, "I miss that!" And then life goes on.

Not the prairie- Gettysburg

Yet as we drove through the night to get to my family reunion, I was struck by the changing scenery. Dry, brittle grass gave way to lush, green grass. Brutal, humid temps gave way to cooler, less humid weather. Trees grew before my eyes and morphed into ones that could hold their own against one of our Midwestern ice storms. It became vividly clear that although I live in the suburbs nears a major city, I do indeed live in the plains.

The houses were different. They are older- centeries ago older instead of 1960 old, like we have in my town. They have rambling character. I like my house that was built in the 1990's but there is something wonderful about those houses too.

I believe that this is where I am and where I need to be. Yet a part of me that I didn't know was there (or perhaps that I had pushed aside) is envious. Until the late spring of 1998, I thought I would go back to that area. I thought I would settle there... but I made the choice to move to the Midwest to be with my then-boyfriend-now-husband.

Not for a single second to I think this is the wrong choice. Not for a single second do I regrete this.

But for a moment, just for a moment, I was homesick. Homesick for an area that hasn't been my home for over 20 years. I physically ached for the trees, the hills, the cold winters, the summers, the old houses. I ached for what I remembered, for what was.

If you asked me a week ago if I wanted to move back to the area where I was born, I would have said no. I was, and am, very happy here. My children were born here, and this area has everything we need, from excellant schools to therapists to friends.Their grandparents are here and they have a history here. My husband's job is fantastic, I love our church and we are quite established here.

Today, though, I don't know. I won't ask my husband to look for a job there. I don't want to up root all of us. There is a teeny, tiny part of me, though, that wouldn't mind moving. A little bit of me would tearfully say good bye to the friends, begin looking for new therapists and a parish with a slight thrill in my heart. I would be sad but I would be a little bit (maybe more than a little bit) happy too.

I have a home here in the Midwest. It's filled with baby trees, dry grass, my husband, children, friends, faith and love. But I have a home in the East too and although I might not have friends or much family there, a little piece of my heart will always live there.

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