Much-needed reprieve

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

This past weekend, I visited my family in Texarkana. Itís the first time Iíve made the trip back to my hometown in a year and the first time Iíve seen my mom and nana since Gideon and I got married in January.

Usually Iíd visit much more often than this, but Gideon has been traveling a lot for his masterís program and Iíve been trying to keep up with everything going on at home. In short, weíve been busy Ö really busy. Weíve been doing what you have to do when youíre a 20-something trying to establish your life. Though thatís the way life goes, it can sure be frustrating sometimes.

I believe we give pieces of ourselves to every person who matters to us. That means there are pieces of me left in Texarkana, with my mom and my nana and my best friends Kasey and Dora. I grew up with all of them. They know me on a level most people never will, so it hurts to be away. It especially hurts to be away for such a long period of time.

I left Texarkana in 2010 to attend college in Batesville, an eight-hour drive round-trip. Back then, I was caught up in the newness of everything. I was so driven to do what I needed to do to get my degree that it was easy to be away from my loved ones. Iíll see them on Thanksgiving, Iíd tell myself, and there was always Christmas break.

Of course, I had much longer holiday breaks then compared to now. Christmas break meant two or three weeks with my family, not two or three days depending on how our schedules line up. The same is true for Thanksgiving. I havenít spent Thanksgiving in my hometown in four years, but that doesnít have a whole lot to do with my schedule.

Since Gideon and I got together, Iíve had to coordinate the holidays between two families. We usually alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas, though we didnít travel to Texarkana during either of those holidays last year. We were planning our wedding. Mom and Nana would be visiting us just a few days after Christmas. It didnít make sense to travel there for a few days when weíd see them so soon. There were many reasons why it wasnít going to work out last year, but that didnít stop me from calling my mom in tears on Christmas morning.

I was homesick, but not for a place. I was homesick for all the people who make me think of home. Thatís the kind of homesickness you canít cure with a few visits to the place where you grew up, because you can miss people no matter where you are. Sometimes, Iíll realize how impermanent a visit is and end up missing my family when Iím with them. I miss watching TV with my mom. I miss going shopping with my nana. I miss playing Phase 10 with Kasey and pretty much every other game you could imagine. Mostly, I miss being around them.

Seeing them this weekend certainly helped with that. We did all the things we used to do, and it still felt the same. Driving home at 5 a.m. Sunday morning, I couldnít help but feel lucky to have such a wonderful support system. Even better, I have the means to visit everybody who is part of that.

To those of you who are in the same situation I am, letís try to visit our family a little more, even when it feels inconvenient. To those of you who see your family regularly, I hope you know how lucky you are.

We are nothing without the people who love us. Thatís the most important thing in life, to love and be loved. I feel full of that love this week, and I hope you do, too.

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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is†Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.