I spent the Thanksgiving holiday back in my hometown with my family, it was the first time I have been back to Ocala, FLA in almost a year. The trip was full of emotions and time to reflect on my life, something I seem to do more and more as I age. I was born in Ocala but spent the first 13 years or so in Salt Springs, an area located about 20 minutes outside of Ocala in the Ocala National Forest. There was a store, a few small churches, some camping sites and a mom and pop restaurant that had the best cheeseburgers, not much has changed. Those early years as a child living in the seclusion of the country side is the biggest reason I write so expressively now. I spent most of my time under the swaying pines writing poems, and personal thoughts in my journal. Miranda Lambert’s song “The House That Built Me” it that place where my first 13 years was spent and word for word that song carries so much meaning for me.
As I get older I feel a need to hold on to every memory and moment I spend with my family. I see my mom and dad getting older and I can’t help but tear up to think how much I will miss them when they are gone. I hate that I think that way but I find myself making more out of every conversation and every moment I have with them because of it. I feel so lucky to have parents who care so much, who love me, who I can talk to and whom I can see so much of them in me. I also love the time I spend with my beautiful sister, I was a pretty lousy sister as a child, I was older and was mean to her in so many ways, I am thankful she and I have such a wonderful relationship now. Those early sister memories of our fights are now replaced with laughter when we get together. I have found that with all the losses I have experienced over the past few years I cherish my family time, every laugh, every tear and every moment.
This Thanksgiving marked the first time in many years that I took a man home with me for my family to meet. I know that sounds trivial but I am very protective of my time with them and this was a tremendous step for me. This was the fifth guy in my life time (including my high school sweetheart) that I have introduced a significant other to my family in all my 45 years. I am sure there were some young men in my teen and preteen years, but none come to mind at the moment. I have to be honest and admit that deep down I used to believe that I was so horrible at relationships that I didn’t want my family to meet the men I dated. I am sure it was because I had doubts about the longevity of those relationships. I didn’t want them to see me fail because I didn’t want them to worry about me when I was dealing with the hurt. That sounds weird to say out loud but I guess I didn’t want them to worry about me while I was dealing with a heartache, I wanted them to see me as a strong independent woman who didn’t need someone to take care of me. Perhaps I am not ready to dive into that part of “ME” discovery, I am sure there is something deeper to learn there but I will save that for a future post.
TO BE CONTINUED…