I didn't mention it before we left, but we went out of town for a few days and we got back last night. The boys had cousins camp at my moms house, which is four hours from here, so Shawn drove them there on Wednesday, came back on Thursday, we spent a few quiet days here with just Clarissa and then when it was time to go pick them up on Saturday we all went and stayed at my moms house for a few days longer. I really needed to get out of the house for a few days so it was a good excuse to take a mini vacation.
I grew up two hours from Yellowstone Park and it was one of my favorite places to go as a kid. We decided while we were staying with my mom that we would take a few day trips and take the kids to Yellowstone and to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is also about a two hour drive from my hometown. Shawn and I grew up in the same area and both spent our summers going to Yellowstone and Jackson as kids and we both feel sad every summer that we can't take our kids there any time we want to because it's too far away from where we live now. We live four hours from my hometown and Yellowstone is two hours past that. It's a doable trip if we plan ahead, but not as a quick daytrip like we used to be able to take as kids. We both get really excited any time we have the opportunity to go there.
We did have a good time! It's an absolutely gorgeous drive through the Tetons. I love being up in the mountains. It makes me happy and reminds me of being a kid. We used to go camping near Yellowstone when I was a kid and I have happy memories of those times. In the past few days we saw lots of wild animals, watched Old Faithful erupt, took a ride on a stage coach, visited a bear habitat, fed some ducks, drove through beautiful scenery...we pretty much wore ourselves out. All in all it was a sucessful trip.
But going back to my hometown is always a little bittersweet for me. I miss it so much. Every time I go back I feel like I'm home and I always hate leaving. I miss my hometown. I miss living there. I miss the life I had there. I miss the farmland and the potato fields and the open space. I just feel like I belong there. It fits me.
But there are also some things that I don't like to confront when I'm there and they are the reasons we don't live there. There are some things I left there that prefer to stay there. There is a complicated family situation there and there are memories of things there that I'd rather forget. We live four hours away for a reason. It's better for me to keep a little distance.
But while I visit I'm happy. I'm happy taking my kids all the places that my parents used to take me as a kid. I feel like every inch of that town holds a memory and I like sharing those memories with my kids. We fed the ducks where I used to love to feed ducks as a kid. We drove past the house I grew up in and snuck on to the driveway and tried to see if we could still see my name written in the cement under the basketball hoop. (We couldn't. The grass has grown around it and I didn't want to dig through it and have the people that own the house come out and ask us what the heck we were doing.) We showed the kids where Shawn and I used to live in apartments next door to each other when we were dating and we showed them the spot where he proposed.
When I was growing up in that town I couldn't wait to leave. I had big dreams of moving across the country to New York City and seeing the world. When I was 19 I did move across the country to a town right outside of New York City. I was glad to be away from my hometown. But after a year of seeing the world I was happy to go back home. I realized what a great place it had been to grow up.
On Tuesday we stopped by Kmart, just down the street from the house I grew up in, and when we were checking out Josh told the checkout girl that I had grown up there but now we lived in a different town. The checkout girl, who looked to be about 18, rolled her eyes and said that she'd move away too. I just chuckled. I would have said the same thing at her age.
Yesterday we came home and today it's business as usual around here. I've got projects to do, kids to chase around and a house to clean. Life goes on, but it was nice to take a break for a bit.