Friday, June 8, 2012

Leaving Home - Week 23 of 2012

Home is where the heart is, home is what you make it, home is where they love you, home sweet home, home is the nicest word there is, ....why do we even want to leave?  Fortunately for most, we do leave home and we learn that leaving makes home and its memories even more special.  When I heard this week's topic, several key times in my life came to mind. 

Probably my first "leaving" was to go to Judson Collins or Lake Huron Methodist Church Camps.  The normal pangs of homesickness didn't last too long and the week was quickly over.  But my first REAL leaving was when our family moved to Imlay City when I was 17 years old.  Luckily,  Mom and Dad thought I should be able to graduate with my class at Romeo High School and I quickly learned that it was kinda cool to have two towns with friends and I adjusted easily.  In twelve months, I left home again to going to Western Michigan University about 200 miles away.  As a typical 18 year old, I couldn't wait to get "outta Dodge" and get on with my life.  I remember Mom and Dad making plans to drive me and "my stuff" to Kalamazoo, but their work schedule didn't permit them to take me when most of the freshmen students would be arriving.  I had to go on Thursday.  The dorms opened on Saturday, but school didn't start until Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday. They had made special arrangements for me to be there early.  The old camper was cleaned out and all my belongings were packed in the sides of it where the "green beer cases" were stored along with the camp stove, stakes, and other camping necessities.  I was the only one in the dorm, up on that fourth floor of Smith Burnham Hall, in the big, six girl suite up over the lobby and circular drive.  As the old green station wagon pulling the now empty camper drove away, I stood at the window and sobbed.  Down the hill and out of site, only to reappear down on VandeGeisen Road and again in the distance on Stadium Drive, I still remember today wishing I could change my mind.  It was a long few days, but all was perfect when my roommate, Janet Johnson, arrived accompanied by her family, late on Monday evening.   Leaving home for college turned out fine!

There were others...leaving home and going to Chicago as an 18 year old for a nanny job, leaving WMU after 4 years for our first jobs in Adrian, including my "new mother" status, leaving Adrian for Harbor Beach, which has become our longtime home.  Living here longer than anywhere else, we are so thankful for the place that our family calls home.  I recently left my "work" home after 35 years of small town retail.  We always called it "home" because we spent so much time there and really had "one happy family" of employees.  Leaving that home has been amazing.  I feel blessed to have had the opportunity that Dad never quite reached. 

I also think of my children "leaving home" and how many times I have cried, especially when they left Harbor Beach to return to MSU after a visit.  Once they got back to East Lansing, I was comfortable with the absence, but it happened with each one throughout their college careers.  I have to admit that it still happens..and they are adults now, with established homes, careers and lives, living across the state and country.

Leaving home...its a normal thing.  Thanks to God for all my "leavings."   May I always use them to the best of my ability!

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