It’s January 1st. Today is the day we’ve been dreaming of for the past 2 years. 730 days of imagining, saving, planning, worrying, anticipating. Ever since we decided to leave on January 1, 2016 there was no compromising on our departure date. We wouldn’t leave earlier or later. That was the day. A full year on the open road, starting on the first day of a brand new year. A clean slate in which to paint whatever we feel.
But we left on January 2nd.
Yep, that’s right. We left a day late. We could pretend we left on the 1st. Most people still think we did. But we didn’t. It wasn’t because we weren’t packed, although we cut it pretty close. It wasn’t because we didn’t save enough money, although, couldn’t we all use a little more of that? It wasn’t because we were having second thoughts, even though it was hard to leave the ones we love.
So why is it that we went back on our word and left on January 2nd?!
It was a difficult decision. We only have one shot to do this trip and to do it right. Starting on time clearly would’ve been ideal but when it came down to it, it wasn’t the most important thing. At that moment in time, the most important thing was to enjoy the little time we had left with our family, with our family. The past month was an absolute whirlwind. We finished the van build, our mom broke her arm, the house was to be put up for sale, we had our going away party, we hosted Christmas at the house for the last time, we packed up our childhood rooms, and so much more. With all the commotion around the house, it was impossible to relax and enjoy the moment. So we took January 1st to do just that.
We woke up around 8am, went to breakfast at Bob Evans as a family, and carried out normal conversations as if the whole dynamic of our family wasn’t going to change within the next few hours. We returned home and began packing the van. Mom gave us dirty, “don’t leave me,” glances with every trip to the driveway. Soon enough it was time to go and we reluctantly began the see-ya-later process. We were all emotional wrecks, bawling our eyes out as we took family photos in front of the house that has been our home for the past 20 years.
“102” was the house that I grew up in. I learned just about everything I know inside those walls. I remember sitting on mom’s lap, learning to read. I remember Dad showing me how to shoot free throws in the driveway. Justin taught me, indirectly, how to unsuccessfully sneak out of the house in the middle of the night.
“102” hosted 20 Christmases, handfuls of Easters and Thanksgivings, over 50 birthday parties, numerous bonfires, anniversaries, pool parties, and just about any other kind of get-together imaginable.
“102” was not just a house but a home. It will always be home, in some way. Not because of its structure, but because its inhabitants. The love that emanated through the lifeless structure on a daily basis is what gave it life and made it home. Although I hope the next family to live in “102” has as many good moments within those walls as we did, we don’t need to be under those shingles to be home. For me, being with our family is home, even if it’s over the phone for the time being.
With tears rolling down our cheeks, we prayed as a family, in the driveway, before we departed from the driveway. Mom summed it up best: “It wouldn’t be this hard if we did’t love each other so much.” Change is hard but it’s necessary for growth and I couldn’t be more excited to see how much I grow over the course of this year, even if it started a day late.