In June 2005, less than two weeks after my high school graduation, my family made a big move from Maryland to Florida. I can’t believe that so much time has gone by already! The decision to move was made just weeks before I began my senior year of high school, and so I shifted my impending college search and application process to the southeast to consider universities I had hardly ever heard of. I still applied to my dream school, the University of Maryland, but ultimately decided to attend the University of Florida, because it seemed to be my Maryland in the Sunshine State. It was imperative to me that I be close to my family, because at the time, my brother was only 7 years old and I didn’t want to be that older sister who leaves home, moves away, and doesn’t even know her siblings.
I am only realizing now, nine years later, how smart I was at the time, to make the decision to stay close to home. I had the tremendous privilege to be a Gator (and who in their right mind doesn't want that?!?!), and for five years I was two and a half hours from my family. I then worked for three years in a town only seventy miles away from my parents’ house. I lived so close that I did my laundry there, because I didn’t have a washer and dryer in the place I rented. I was able to be home for birthdays and holidays and long weekends. I could even drive home in the middle of the week if I had to.
1,500 miles makes a big difference. I haven’t been back to Florida since the day Drew and I left to move to Texas. I haven’t hugged my parents since August. I have missed weddings of close friends. A year of family birthdays and holidays has gone by. The beach is so far away! Most recently, I was unable to watch my baby sister walk across the stage at her own high school graduation. We are blessed to be able to use Face Time to “see” each other and phone conversations and Facebook keep us all updated on daily goings-on, but it has been a new and difficult sensation to feel like I am missing out from all the way over here. I love life here in Texas, but sometimes I feel so isolated from my family and friends.
I was really blessed earlier this week when my sister called and asked, “What are you doing this weekend? Can we come visit?” Drew and I visited her and her husband for Thanksgiving, which feels like forever ago, so our immediate response was, “YESPLEASECOMERIGHTNOW!” It was a short reunion, but very wonderful and full of laughs. It made our new house feel more like home to have some family here. :)
|Group selfie at the park. Miracle of miracles, it only took one try.|