I have been living in Chicago for almost four years now, but each year I’ve always found time to visit my parents in my home state of Florida. The Sunshine State will always be a part of who I am. I have such wonderfully fond memories of the time I spent there. My husband and I met in Florida; we both graduated from the same high school; I made amazing friends; and I soaked up the sunshine on many a weekend, among so many other memories. I also have wonderfully painful memories of lessons learned and heartbreak. Florida claimed 15 years of my life, and while every so often I miss the constant blazing sun and ocean spray on my face I’ve very much fallen in love with city life in Chicago. I probably won’t ever look back.
As I approach my early 30’s; my parents are approaching retirement. It’s such a weird thought. Where did three decades of my life go? Recently, I learned that my parents decided to chase their dreams of owning and living in an RV, which means I have to emotionally say goodbye to the house I grew up in. It’s kind of sad. The walls of my bedroom have seen so many things. If only they could talk. I vividly remember sneaking in one of my high school boyfriends into my room at night after my parents had gone to sleep. He used to work late nights at a restaurant by the beach and every so often he would drive to my house under the moonlight, and knock on my window because he knew it would wake me up as my window was right next to my bed. I’d get out of bed in the wee hours of the night and let him through the front door so we could squeeze in an extra few hours of time together. I remember the butterflies. I know my parents knew he did this. At that age, it felt like such a rebellious act, while I was usually such a good kid. Sorry, mom. The walls of my room also witnessed many tears and even screaming. I can still remember the night I was betrayed by a high school boyfriend. I threw my silver and pink flip phone across the room and pushed over my pink computer chair. This seems pretty hilarious now, doesn’t it? But, I remember feeling so angry and hurt. I also went through a period of my life when I felt like my bedroom was my only friend. You know, that awkward stage of life when everything is confusing? Yeah, that one. Except, I’m pretty sure that feeling never really and truly goes away.
That house will be gone soon. The house where I discovered my parents were getting divorced. The house where my mom slowly fell in love with the man who is just as much my father as my real dad is. The house where I laughed and played with friends. The house that never toppled over during hurricanes. The house that I always, always felt safe at. My favorite part of that house was the backyard. My mom used to construct these elaborate plans involving flowers, trees and tresses with vines that climbed to the sky. These plans always flourished into some grand garden scheme. Anytime I visited from college or graduate school the backyard always changed slightly. I loved sitting on the bench in the back porch, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying conversation with my mom. I’m going to miss those moments.
While another chapter of my life closes, a new one opens. I now have the wild and crazy opportunity to visit my parents wherever they travel to with free lodging in their RV. I’m pretty excited about that prospect. I’m glad that my parents finally get to enjoy life. They’ve worked so hard to get to this point, but my childhood home…I’m going to miss it a lot.