When I was seventeen, I couldn’t wait to pack up my belongings and head to college. I was young, energetic, and totally in love with the idea of living on your own and being independent.
Plus, I knew there’d be a dorm room to decorate.
My entire family helped me move in that first day. I think my dog was there, too. We explored the grounds together. Mom helped me hang my Dave Matthews poster. I’m sure we stopped by the Welcome BBQ at some point.
By late afternoon, my family got ready to head home. Some tears were shed, but soon it was just me sitting on my new pink-and-blue-floral bedspread, excited for the road ahead.
It would be a whole decade before I lived at home again.
I finished college, went to graduate school, became a teacher, and lived in various places in and around New York City. Almost three years ago, however, I decided to move back to my hometown. In an instant, I was once again surrounded by my family and the familiar surroundings I grew up with.
It wasn’t the path I expected, but as I sit here now, on a more sophisticated bedspread, just one week before I move across the country, I am so grateful that I’ve had this extra time at home.
This time around, I know that saying goodbye will be much different than my college farewell. I’m just as excited for what comes next, but I’m not seventeen anymore. My attachment to my family and my town are stronger now, and I know that leaving will be bittersweet.
Earlier this week, I ran out to grab breakfast and coffee. It was such a beautiful morning. My town was in full bloom and I found myself walking slower on the sidewalk simply to enjoy the scenery.
As I snapped a few photos, I realized that I’ve been doing that a lot lately – slowing down.
Taking it all in.
Appreciating the little things.
Over the past week, I’ve treasured several moments that reflect my life at home.
- Sunday night on the couch with my mom and sister, watching our show.
- Kisses from my dogs and holding their little faces.
- A chocolate milkshake from the local ice cream stand.
- Watching my backyard come alive again with flowers and patio furniture.
- My coffee and quiche lunches at the cafe.
- Listening to Bill’s stories at the bar.
And with appreciation, those little things became so much sweeter.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. – Robert Brault