"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Friday, March 12, 2010

Finding Home: A Personal Journey, Part 1

Growing up in the military, we moved around a lot. Not as much as some military families, mind you but still more than the average civilian family, I'd say. Here, I'll explain:

I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas.
When I was 3, we moved to Hawaii.
When I was 6, we moved to Florida.
When I was 9, we moved to Georgia.
When I was 15, we moved back to Florida.
When I was 18, I moved back to Arkansas, sans family.
When I was 19, I moved back to Florida.
When I was 20, I joined the military and have since lived in Texas, California, back to Texas, Hawaii and now Maryland.

That's a lot of moving, wouldn't you say? Still, it's the only life I knew and it's a life that I have appreciated for the most part. The only times that I've had any issue reconciling this life within myself is when someone asks me, "so, where are you from?"

This question has always baffled me. "From?" I'll reply. And then I give the standard, "Oh, I'm a military brat so we moved around a lot." Most people's interest is immediately sparked by this answer and then I get the questions like, "did you live any cool places?" or "Was your dad gone a lot?" And yes, it is fun to tell them how I lived in Hawaii or how my dad worked closely with the Space Shuttle operations on Florida's Space Coast, and that is where my family had remained since my Dad's retirement from the Air Force. But when those conversations come to a close, I have always walked away with that one word haunting me..."from"..."home."

For some reason, my recent trip down to Florida changed everything for me. It was a two week journey that I had no idea I was even on until I came to the conclusion of it.

It all started when I got off the plane at the Orlando airport. I had left Baltimore where it was 30 degrees outside, and 2 hours later, I was in central Florida where it was a perfect 65 degrees. The breeze was warm, the palm trees were swaying and the bright Florida sun greeted me like soft kisses on my face. And it was then that it hit me, I really missed Florida.

Then my mom showed up with her sparkly, kind eyes and her always cheery disposition. I hugged her tight and it hit me again, I really missed my mom. My mom lives in Florida.

We made the one hour drive down to Palm Bay where my my mom and sister have recently moved into a little home in a Oak tree filled neighborhood that I had never been to. But when I stepped into that home for the first time, it felt familiar; As if I'd been there before.

It felt as though I'd lived there all of my life. Why? Well, I'll show you why...

My Childhood Home

Family Photos

Photo Albums

My Dad

Mom Playing the Piano

It was walking in to find all of the things that have been in every house I've ever lived in as a child. It was finding the pottery I made for my mom in second grade on a shelf, displayed with all of her other prized possessions. It was my Gramino's paintings hidden all throughout the house, or the dozens of albums filled with pictures of people who've loved me my whole life. It was seeing all of the trinkets and knick knacks my parents have collected over years of PCS's and TDY's. It was listening to my mom play the piano in the evenings. It was comfortable, familiar, almost homey.

So, the first part of this personal journey for me started with this simple and age-old adage: Home is where the Heart Is.

Monday, part two of my journey towards "Finding Home."

2 comments on "Finding Home: A Personal Journey, Part 1"

Erin on March 12, 2010 at 9:21 AM said...

Your words and photography are so beautiful here, and so true! I look forward to part 2!

momof3 on March 14, 2010 at 1:15 PM said...

Glad you're back! I love the picture of your parents and my mom holding you and my scraggly-haired self standing there. Precious!