I recently went back to my home state of Michigan and had a wonderful time. I expected that. But what I didn’t expect is the clear, strong bonds of genetics. When you live apart from your family so long, you forget that you’re indelibly imprinted. I exhibit plenty of my paternal and maternal qualities most days but it wasn’t until my oldest was in his teens that I realized that the genes had infiltrated him, too. Now I’m more and more aware of owning those qualities not just in myself but also in my other kids.
I heard about my grandpa who had such a lead foot that when he was driving the fire truck to a call, he took a corner on two wheels. Nice. (I’ve never taken any corner that fast but I got my need for speed comes from both sides.) I heard how my mother loved to help other people. She didn’t have a lot to give, but she gave what she could. My brother has a weird sense of humor. I do too, and it’s sure come in handy as I work with junior high kids. Another relative makes hard decisions that others don’t always understand, but she keeps her head up and keeps her ears tuned to God.
For someone who doesn’t fit in here in my adopted state, it’s quite refreshing to experience little things that just feel right. Like when I hear someone else say and do the same things I say and do, odd as they are. ‘It’s not just me!’ feels good! It’s also nice to anticipate what someone will say and be right. Even after not spending the last 29 years together, I knew when my brother walked in he’d say, “Sister Sue! What’s up?” Sure enough, he didn’t let me down. When my dad hears an opportunity to say a pun, he takes it. So do I. My second son has bordered on obnoxious as he’s been practicing the craft. When he got together with grandpa, it was one corny line after another. They loved it. The rest of us endured.
Another bonus was being with my cousins and girlfriends who reinforced that my idiosyncrasies have an origin. My daughter is a bit chagrined whenever I prompt someone to take a picture from the waist up. Sunday night when my dear cousins and I posed for a pic, it was my cousin who piped up, prompting my daughter to take it from the waist up. “See? It’s not just me!!” Other occasions helped my daughter realize that her mom’s quirks come from other women’s mouths too. I have some unusual bedtime rituals I do with her and sometimes she says, “What other mother does this?” Now she knows. My friends/family in Michigan do the same thing.
I guess it’s harder than I realized to be so unique out here. It was great to go home and feel so at home. True, I didn’t get to go in my childhood bedroom anymore…that belongs to someone else now, but being around people who are like me and get me felt better than ever. You can’t really understand or appreciate that until you move away. I miss that familiarity but I’m also proud that I’ve forged another way, too; something different than the rest. It’s not for everybody but it was meant for me. The cool thing is that I can go back and be me, at home… 3,000 miles away from home.