Monday, February 05, 2007

Coming Home

This week, I've come to the states for a vacation after a year of being gone. The main reason for the trip is because Woodstock wanted to go to Atlanta for his R&R. So I decided to get here a little early and visit my fam in Mississippi. As I cleaned, packed and otherwise got ready for my trip, I had mixed feelings. I was excited about seeing Jamil and getting a break from all of my, um, volunteering, but at the same time it didn't feel like I was going home, it felt like I was leaving home. Since I've been on my own, I've never been away from my new home more than 2 weeks. And that 2 weeks only happened last year for Christmas. I was leaving my new "family" behind, my friends, my "work", my commitments, and Taz (I couldnt' bring him on a space A flight).
But since I’ve been here, it’s like everything I’ve missed in the past year has been experienced in the past 4 days. So what have I learned?

1) How to have a dad: I flew into Baltimore and to make sure I didn’t miss my flight, I scheduled my connection for the following day. RR #2 arranged for me to be able to stay with her parents for a couple of nights. For a day and a half, it was like having a “real’ family, one with a mom and a dad. We talked; about the weather, crime in the city, just normal stuff. Her dad dropped me off at the mall. We watched “judge” shows together – you know, Judge Mathis, Judge Joe Brown, People’s Court – and laughed at how stupid people could be and what we thought the verdicts would be. I asked for a slice of cake, and like dads do, he offered extras; ice cream, strawberries and chocolate syrup. When it was time for my early morning flight, her dad gave me a ride to the airport. But what he also gave me was some adult memories of a father.

2) How to be a big sister: I haven’t really lived in the house with my little sister since she’s been old enough to understand who was who. When I went to undergrad, she was only 5 years old. So, to get here and find a teenager on the verge of adulthood blew my mind. We went shopping together (she helped me pick out Woodstock’s anniversary gift) and we cooked together. We made Super Bowl snacks and mocktails, and I even taught her how to make shrimp curry. Though I doubt she will remember how to make any of it, I hope she will remember the fun we had doing it.

3) How to have a family: Since Woodstock has been gone, I’ve gone back to my old ways. I am used to be alone. I’m used to following my own schedule, and doing things when I want to. I prefer to have a couple of hours of silence after I wake up. I like to read books and newspapers and surf the ‘net without being disturbed. I like to watch TV in silence. Since I’ve been here, none of that has happened. I wake up at 6 a.m. because that’s what time the rest of the house wakes up. I go pick up my grandma when she needs a ride when I borrow mom’s car. I am constantly interrupted while doing things that I’d rather do silently. I cook and wash dishes without complaining. I laugh at grandma’s jokes, and hold back my laughter when she says something I find hilarious. And even though some things may get on my nerves, I’ve had a good time here, and I feel like part of a family again.

I’ll be leaving Gulfport Friday morning to meet up with Woodstock to start his 2 weeks of R&R. So my last lesson to remember will be how to be a good wife. Wish me luck.

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