If someone had told me that I was going to start feeling nostalgic on visits to my hometown, I would have laughed at you. Thought you were crazy. Possibly given you the stink eye. I never thought this day would come. But lately, it has. Every time we pull into familiar territory, my heart drops a little bit and I’m scared I will start kicking and screaming when it comes time to go. You may remember from past blogs that I decided to go to college far away because I needed to get out, and then I even moved to another state with my now-husband. I don’t know. Maybe it takes like two years or so for you to grasp the changes in your life, and realize, holy shit, my mom is no longer making my dinner and I am sleeping in bed next to a boy! Every night! Possibly in lingerie. Sometimes in less!
I guess this goes back to me saying to Mr. FF recently that I wished I was in middle school again. You know, things must be rough if I am wishing for those “good old days”. I honestly hated middle school. I didn’t know how to dress. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I took it upon myself to “fix” my unibrow. Things were tough. I was struggling to stay friends with people I had known since kindergarten and figuring out how to trust new ones. But for some crazy reason, middle school sounds pretty awesome right now. Factoring in a three-month break from school, sleeping in, and the possibility of a summer vacation in a beautiful place, it sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?
Ah, summer vacations with your parents. When you didn’t have to pay for a dime. Soak it in, kids, because when it ends – It. Is. Rough.
I was a lucky kid. Since the time I was a little girl, my parents would take us to the beach for a week or two. We stayed in hotels, started renting cottages and condos, and then they bought one. Soon after that we went on road trips, and then plane trips. It was pretty much easy living, with the occasional fight thrown in, of course. And just like I never thought I would be missing my hometown, I probably never thought about the day when I would no longer take vacations with my family.
Or maybe I did and I was too blinded by future independence and going away with my boyfriend and friends. Totally not realizing I wouldn’t always be able to have both. Even the logistics of the trips have just hit me now. My parents taking off time from work, paying for four people to eat 2 times a day for five days. Not to mention the activities associated with vacation and the souvenirs. My parents didn’t even spoil us. They were very conservative, but we were also really well-behaved children. But still multiply anything by four and it can get expensive. It’s a lot to consider.
Then there’s the family time. I had a lot of it before I moved out. But not even that much since I was working full-time and commuting. Vacations were always a nice escape from the real world. We could focus on having fun together. Not all the other crap. It’s been almost four years since I’ve been away with my family, and that was only for a few days. It’s hard enough for us to find time to get together these past couple of months which is sad. What I wouldn’t give to be able to just drop it all, win the lottery (not much, I’m not greedy), and take us away so we can just laugh and talk for awhile. Without tolls or traffic or worries about money. Have a drink, scarf down a nice meal. Make some new memories together.
We have just about everything going against us when it comes to this actually materializing. My dad is still unemployed. My mom and sister are both working multiple summer jobs, not to mention Mr. FF & I have limited vacation days to take and can’t afford to take another unpaid break.
I’m happy my parents have still found a way to take a vacation together this year. They will be celebrating a huge anniversary, as well as giving my mom some down time from juggling so many responsibilities this year. Maybe it is the pick-me-up my dad needs to inspire him to do more than talk to the television, who knows? (This sounds like a joke and it partly is… but I’m getting worried.)
As luck would have it, Mr. FF and I will be going away within a few days of my parents and I just wish we would have been able to coordinate it so that we could be together in the sun for a few days.
But alas, not this year. My mom and I had been talking about, at least before my dad’s lay off, possibly taking our first true family trip next summer after my sister graduates college. Here’s hoping we can make that happen. Mr. FF hasn’t had the PLEASURE of seeing my family in action on vacation, and after our multiple years together, I think it’s about time! (Don’t be scared, hun!)
So what am I saying exactly? 1) I miss a lot of things. 2) I wish I had unlimited cash and unlimited time. 3) I’m thankful for what my parents have done all those years prior when it came to vacation, ballet lessons, etc. 4) Even if my parents are a little crazy, I still would like to swim in a beautiful pool with them, have them take multiple ugly pictures of me, and at the end of the day, share a beer (or in my mom’s case, a glass of wine).
Until then, I can go to this hometown that has become somewhat majestic in my eyes (even the old pharmacy where I used to work – a landmark!) and spend whatever handful of hours I can with my family. I don’t think there will ever be a time I don’t miss what used to be, in any respect, even if it all wasn’t a fairy tale, and hope the stars align and we can recreate some of those summer memories at a later date. And make them even better.
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Back Where I Come From is part of our Summer Series.