Saturday, April 16, 2011

Going Home

I am on the plane flying home to Texas with my kids—my daughter is having surgery on both her feet. I always have mixed feelings about going home. Usually I’m excited to get out of town and go see my family and my friends, but I am making this trip with a very heavy heart.

I grew up in a little town in Texas called Dublin—home to the oldest Dr. Pepper bottling company in the world. People come from all over to sample the only Dr. Pepper that is still made with real pure cane sugar. And if you stop and take a tour at the Dr. Pepper Museum in Dublin, you may catch a glimpse of a photo of me dressed as Pretty Peggy Pepper on the wall.
I lived in Dublin until I graduated from the nearby college. For the first 22 years of my life, I lived in what is known as the dairy capital of the world. And whenever I smell cow manure, I always think of home.

My parents still live in the same house I grew up in. They have had the same phone number for 35 years. My dad is a creature of habit and likes for things to stay the same.

I, on the other hand, longed to be anywhere but Dublin. So, I married a military man and we changed duty stations on a regular basis. Our first eight years of marriage we moved to Columbus, GA then to Fairbanks, AK and then to Fort Lewis, WA and then back to Columbus and then to Savannah, GA.

Our last move together was to Denver, CO.  Luckily for the kids and me, we were able to get back to our home in Georgia and I’m pretty sure we’ll stay here.

Unfortunately my ex-husband lives in Texas, too. He doesn’t come around much to see the kids so I don’t have to deal with him often. But he called my cell phone before I boarded the plan in Savannah and informed me that he would be at the hospital for Veronica’s surgery.

I’m surprised he even remembered her surgery. He forgot the last one. I can think of a million other things I would rather do than see him—having an icepick shoved into my eye seems like a better alternative right now. I don’t want to watch him pretend to be a caring father at her bedside.

But that’s just the way life goes. I married that man and had kids with him, so now I have to put up with him several times a year so he can check the “father of the year” box on his list of pretend duties for 2011.

Growing up I always had the feeling that I just didn’t belong in Texas. I’m not sure why. There are so many things about Texas that I love—Texas rock, Austin, the desert, Shiner beer, and amazing Mexican food.
But I already have that “I don’t belong here” feeling now sitting here in this airplane 30,000 feet above the “in between” of Texas and Georgia. I long for the tall oaks draped with Spanish moss and the cool breeze that comes in off the Atlantic while I’m sitting in the sand at Tybee. The smell of the marsh on a hot summer day has replaced the manure and the sand gnats don’t really bother me much anymore.

Coastal Georgia is not the home I ever imagined as a kid growing up in the middle of nowhere Texas. But it’s my home now. And for the first time in a long time I finally feel like I belong somewhere.

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