As I leave each mile marker behind me, I am reminded of the people I am leaving behind. I always love a visit home but every mile I travel away, is a little more my heart starts to ache. I’ve lived away for many years but returning twice a year has always been a priority that I hope I have instilled in my own kids. I have taught them family first. I remember when I first landed 15 days ago. I was in awe at the beautiful shades of green and the mountains on all sides of me. When I lived here many years ago, I think I stopped noticing how beautiful this place was that I had the fortune of growing up in. Now that I live in Oklahoma and the world is flat and the trees are low, I miss the beautiful state of New Jersey more than ever. I wonder if the same thing happens with family as well. I think when you grow up your entire life with family around you, you start to take them for granted. You stop realizing the importance of the people who can be there in a moments notice. It happens very slowly at first until the people we claim to love become a nuisance and annoyance to us. We stop noticing how beautiful family really is. Not to me. It hurts to watch it happening when I want so much to have someone in arms reach when the rest of the world seems scary and my loneliness becomes the only friend I have. It hurts when you make people a priority and my heart breaks when that same enthusiasm is not returned. It hurts to love people. It hurts to watch people wrapped up in things that just don’t matter.
Today, as I ride on this bus I am grateful that I have a place to call home. I am grateful for the little moments that I bottle in my heart until I can return. I close my eyes and I see the sweet smile on my nephews face and hear the silly giggle of my sister in law and the joy on my brothers face as he watches his baby boy. As I think of the tears in my mothers eyes as she pulled away, my own cheeks feel the sting of tears. It’s hard loving people and it’s hard letting them go to get on to more of the silly stuff that doesn’t matter. You either get it or you don’t. You love or you don’t. You make family a priority or you don’t. You always have a choice. I choose love.