The kids and I had the entire week off, so I had a lot of time to think about what I was missing.
I was also remembering the first Thanksgiving I had as a married woman in Austin, Texas. We had moved to Texas with our first born Aaron (he's actually one of our best friends and a lovely gentleman) days after getting married. It was such an amazing adventure. Traveling in an old bakery truck across the Western US for two weeks, sleeping in swap meet parking lots, running out of gas, told by the police to get out of Yellowstone, and watching our cat Slick walk around on his leash. Yes, a journey that everyone takes sometime in their life.
I will never forget this trip and the time I spent with my two best friends.
When we got to Austin we headed to an RV park, where the owner charged us only $5 a night (because did I mention it was just an old Bakery Truck). Aaron slept outside on a huge pillow, our TV was hooked up to a pole and placed classily on the ice chest, and our spot was backed up to the parking lot of a pretty nice Italian place where people routinely gasped in disgust at our set up. Yes we were living the good life. We couldn't get into an apartment for two weeks. Henceforth we rode the city buses all day long to enjoy the air conditioning, much needed tip to surviving the heat of Texas in August.
We finally got our apartment in the hoity toity Sea Breeze complex that was placed right in front of a great little spot we called the "Drug House" and no where near a Sea. The "Drug House" was a rundown home where people went in with TVs and came out hours later empty handed, with glazed eyes and singing versions of Bob Dylan songs. (Mom, don't worry it was similar to Church).
We all got jobs: Kurt - 7-Eleven, Aaron - Pizza delivery, Amanda - Drive through dry cleaning.
It's amazing how little money we survived on. We found furniture by dumpsters or garage sales, ate a lot of free pizza from Aaron's job, and swam in the pool.
Austin was a great city...it really was...the library was beautiful, the buses were free if going downtown, the people very friendly, food was amazing, and the music and movie scene was everything 3 twenty year olds could ever want. We also made some great friends (especially after I got a job upgrade to baker at a Kosher Deli).
Months passed and we settled in to a life I now realize was extremely care free. We built a distinguished record collection, and played a ton of Atari.
The holidays came upon us and I soon realized that I am unnaturally connected to my family. I missed them so much I could hardly get up in the morning. I had my two dearest friends with me, not to mention a husband I adored, yet I was so young. I had never lived 5 minutes away from my mom and dad or my wonderful, wonderful, sweet baby brothers. God I missed them. I hadn't realized that my crazy, loud, much too talented brothers and sisters were such a part of me and who I was. The holidays were so lonesome. We invited a down on their luck family to a Christmas dinner. I'm not even sure what I cooked. We exchanged gifts...
We moved back to Portland 4 months later.
I've grown up a lot since then. I am still connected to my family in ways most people can't understand. I need them in my life...they are still a part of me and who I am. Yet, I'm more me now. I'm also a part of my own family. I have two of the best kids in the world, and a husband that is my best friend and whom I adore. So this holiday season it wasn't so bad being so far away...we cooked an amazing meal, truly epic, we played board games, we went ice skating, watched the Muppet movie, and just sat and enjoyed each other.
So I probably won't move back to the West Coast in 4 months this time. We will make sure to fly home for Thanksgiving next year guaranteed. I have my family and friends with me all the time in my laugh, in my songs, in my head, in my heart.