Despite living only an hour away from where I grew up, I don’t go home very often. It happens for a number of reasons. I’m sure everyone reading this has their fair share of troublesome family issues, and I’m no different. Sometimes going home is tough. But once I’m there I always feel appreciative that despite its challenges and difficulties, I still have a place to come back to.
There’s something so incredibly nostalgic about driving through the town that raised me, the one that’s only one square mile in its entirety. I parked in front of my old school, which holds grades Pre-K through 12 all in one building and is just two stories tall, and had a million flashbacks come to mind.
That school fostered the friendships I continue to have to this day with my best friends, the love for cheerleading that I now embody through coaching, and the lessons I learned from those older and wiser than me, both in and out of the classroom.
No matter how much I develop my own life outside of my hometown, it will always hold such a special place in my heart.
As a kid, I walked down those cracked sidewalks and carried my trumpet home from school, had Easter egg hunts in the park across from my house, learned how to play softball under my dad’s coaching direction on those fields, had mud wars when it rained, watched summer fireworks in the parking lot, had my first job at the pizza and sub shop, fell in love in the way you can only do when you’re in grade school, snuck out with my best friends and drove aimlessly down those roads late at night…. the list could go on forever.
And now when I come home and walk into the corner bar, the central hub where you can see half of your graduating class all in one night, I remember why I am the way I am.
That town raised me.
It showed me how to be a good friend, sister, daughter, aunt, athlete, teammate, student, and most importantly, just a good person in general.
I thank God that I not only have a town that showed me right from wrong, but one that has a community of kind people who I know will always welcome me home with open arms, no matter how long it’s been since my last visit.