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Seeds of Something Fine

Homeward bound

Staff writer

Today is my last day at this paper. By this evening, I will be in the middle of a celebration that’s about as different from my current situation as one can get.

The past couple of months as interim news editor have been challenging. Rewarding, but challenging. I can’t say I know I always did the right thing, but I know I always did my best and that’s something to stand on.

Being apart from my husband and 2-year-old daughter has proven more difficult than I could have imagined. I’m sure that’s part of why the demands of the job have seemed more draining than I thought they’d be. I have ached for my loved ones, and that made even the biggest professional accomplishments feel a little flat. I went from having a house full of love and chaos to being alone literally overnight.

This opportunity has been an amazing one — one I admit I wasn’t sure I was up to. I proved my own self-doubt wrong to some extent and that is worth a great deal, but I also became an integral part of something that is the heartbeat of this community, and that was truly an honor. Thank you, Marion County, for the opportunity and the honor.

I say those thanks sincerely, but as I said, I sit here a bit hollow, a bit achy, a bit desperately in need of the company of my loved ones. And maybe a cup of hot tea.

And wouldn’t ya know it, when I leave this office at noon today I will drive to my mother’s house for a big dose of all those things.

Inside my mother’s house by 6 o’clock this evening will be a collection of faces the thought of which makes me tear up and confounds my comprehension. My mother is hosting a bridal shower for a woman who was my other sister growing up. Holly lived a few houses down from us when my sister, Alyssa, and I were young. We spent so much time at one another’s houses we became honorary members of the respective families. Holly has two older sisters, Crystal and Mel, and they felt a bit like my older sisters, too. They gave me a hard time just like they would a true sibling and they were the definition of “cool” in my eyes.

Holly was the first hippie I ever met, before I knew what hippies were. When I was 5, Holly was 7 and wore tie-dye T-shirts and was always telling us to recycle and save the whales.

It’s no secret I love hippies. I still want to be one when I grow up.

Holly, Alyssa, and I created worlds with our imaginations that I swear looked the same in each of our minds but likely couldn’t be described to anybody else. We turned my parents’ backyard into faraway worlds with the help of old scarves and dress-up clothes and turned our basement into a Hawaiian restaurant. That ineffable space of a child’s imagination was a gift we shared with one another and no amount of time or grown-up disenchantment can break that bond.

Holly is getting married Saturday to a man who grew up on that same street, actually, just a few houses down from her house. Daniel — or Ryan, as we knew him back then — is quiet and kind and lovely and loves her fiercely. His mom used to cut our hair and we would play with him and his brothers and we all went to the same church and our parents have known each other since college.

An hour before the shower we have all arranged to have a little reunion. My little girl and my sister’s kids will meet Crystal’s and Mel’s kids and Daniel and Holly, and Holly’s parents and Daniel’s parents and my parents will probably all tell stories we’ve heard a million times and … I can hardly contain my excitement.

I can feel the love that will be in that room reaching out to me even now and keeping me warm and pulling me home. Home, home. Home where my family is. Home with the people who hold my heart and know more embarrassing things about me than ought to be legal and know just what I see in my mind when I dream of waitressing at the “Hawaiian Hangout.”

And, just like that the next phase of my life is already beginning. Already the bonds of my own childhood and my family are pulling me home.

Marion has been home to my little family for a short time and we have loved many things about this little town. When we moved here, I had visions of Lyla making acorn stew in buckets on the lawn and hanging fabric from the trees in the front yard with the neighborhood kids. But it wasn’t meant to be.

I want to thank you all for the home Marion has been to us, even for a short while, and the momentum it gave us to take the next steps in our lives, even though they are steps away from here.

Last modified Oct. 19, 2011

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