Saturday, February 16, 2013

There Is Always Something To Miss

On Thursday morning in Michigan, I packed my bag, hugged my mom goodbye, and hopped on the expressway to drive to the airport.

Southbound US 23. I can't imagine how many times I traveled that route in the first eighteen years of my life. Past the exits for South Lyon, Hamburg, Pinckney, and Whitmore Lake. I know every inch of that road.

I remember countless trips to Ann Arbor to buy new shoes and fabric for homemade dresses. There were visits to the doctor, and once when I was four years old, I put a raisin up my nose and had to go to the hospital to get it taken out. My teenage friends and I made our first no-moms-included trips to Briarwood Mall along this route, and I recall a few away football games in nearby Chelsea.

And while I don't exactly recall the details, I know this was the drive my parents made on their way to the hospital for my birth. It was a dark and stormy New Year's Eve, and the sleet-covered streets made for a long and nerve-wracking trip. Or so I've been told.

As I thundered along with the last of the morning rush hour traffic, these memories flooded over me and I felt my emotions rise. How did it happen that I moved so far away from this familiar place? Why have I been gone so long? And even after all these many years, how can it be that this place still conjures up the most primal feelings in me?

When my emotions cleared, I remembered the chain of events that led me to move to Seattle, and all the wonderful reasons why I love my life in the Pacific Northwest. I have no regrets.

But my morning drive was a good reminder of my sturdy Midwestern roots, and a lovely assurance that you can, indeed, go home again.

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Ready for more stories about Michigan, my mitten-shaped home state? 

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