Almost Home

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After starting off relatively mild, our Minnesota winter became epic in February: -45 degree temperatures, blizzard warnings, and SO. MUCH. SNOW. We don’t usually travel for the kid’s spring breaks, but around inch number 35 of snow, the winter finally broke my spirt and I booked the kids and I tickets to Arizona.

It had been just about five years since we’d been back to Arizona, which is where I grew up and where my son was born. It’s still where my parents, siblings, and come very dear friends live so it felt like it was time to go back. The fact that it was in the upper 70’s/low 80’s for most of the trip and that the kids are now old enough to be easy to travel with didn’t hurt either.

(Side note: those of you who are in the life phase where you have to travel with infants, know this: IT GETS BETTER. My kids were 6 and 10 on this trip and can carry their own luggage, entertain themselves on the plane, and can even handle airplane bathrooms on their own. Magical.)

There were many parts of this trip that ended up being awesome. We loved the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, hiking in Sabino Canyon (something I’ve been doing since I was a kid and my Girl Scout troop lost me there for a very eventful 45 minutes or so), and doing some mildly terrifying (for me) rock climbing at Windy Point.

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We stayed for a few nights in Phoenix with one of my oldest friends and it was fun and slightly disconcerting seeing our kids play together. E. and I met when we were 22 and filled with big questions about our futures. Would we find love? Get married? Have babies? Have careers we loved? Now we are 40 and the answers to some of those questions were hanging out with each other in her backyard pool. Time goes so fast.

But it was the time in Tucson that felt the most surreal to me. Tucson is where I grew up and I’ve lived more years there than anywhere else. I lived there and then left for college but then returned. I once moved to South Korea when I was in my 20’s but still returned to Tucson. It felt like the place I could always come back to, but now it no longer feels like home. Driving around there were some things that hadn’t changed at all but I didn’t feel the emotional connection I thought I would. It felt familiar but I had no longing to live there again. I can’t actually see myself living there again, like ever.

Perhaps part of it is that I just like the version of myself I am now more than I liked who I was when I lived in Arizona. Arizona was familiar and was my childhood, but living there was hard sometimes. In the ten years since we moved from there, I’ve grown children and a career and into a version of myself I actually like. I miss the hiking and the spring sunshine felt good, but it just isn’t home anymore.

It snowed again this week but it was still good to be home.

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