Being back in my home town is always a bit surreal. I grew up here, in this tiny town of 1200 in NW Ohio. With it's railroad tracks and 2 stop lights, it could easily be any tiny town you see in the movies. Everyone knows everyone and everything about everyone. I find that comforting, and yet, a bit creepy.
Mum and I went to my nephews basketball game tonight. Sitting in the stands with classmates who I graduated with, watching their kids play ball, made me realize just how much I've changed since leaving this small town shortly after college. I could look around and see the boy I had a crush on all through high school, yet he no longer made me blush. I could see the women who made up the group of "popular girls" when I was in high school, and could see lines of life etched in their faces and, sometimes, still brittle demeanor. As I sat with my mum and sister, I could hear snippets of conversation around me: plans for New Year's Eve being made, talk of a pregnancy, gossip of whether or not a marriage would survive. Conversations so important to those involved in them, but so far removed from me.
I now call Wisconsin "home." Yet Ohio will always be "home." Confused yet? When I'm in Wisconsin, I will sometimes really miss being home. But when I'm in Ohio, the small-town mindset grates on me after a while. I know my mum and dad would love for me to live closer, but I'm not sure that would be healthy for me. I have beliefs and values and attitudes that don't fit well in this small, conservative town. I think I would get exhausted constantly defending my point of view or trying to understand an opposing point of view.
I think I will just enjoy the times I am home in Ohio, knowing that there is another home I can go to in Wisconsin. And when the stress of life in my Wisconsin home gets to me, I know I can decompress in my Ohio home. Both nurture my soul in different ways. Both homes have family, one by blood, the other by my choosing.