Where I’m From
I am from one family,
But two homes.
I grew up with twice times the holiday celebrations and toys
And double the love.
A trip to Grandma’s house could be a short drive across town
With minimal complaints or boredom.
Time going by quickly as we stared out the window, admiring the city
Beautifully lit, like there was always something exciting happening.
Visiting grandparents could mean a long car ride to Missouri
In a Honda Pilot filled with two small children, one very large dog, and an endless supply of movies on DVD
Counting down the minutes until we could finally get out and stretch our legs
Craving the traditional arrival dinner of the delicious St. Louis pizza.
I grew up not with just two sets of grandparents, but four.
With my step-grandma Jean in Mentor
Our time was spent sailing around the city on the water of Lake Erie,
Or sitting on the sunny patio under her favorite tree, enjoying the shade and conversation.
Jean baking the best homemade cookies or cupcakes any chance she got,
Every holiday having its own cookie collection,
Each get-together its own batch of delicious and specially decorated sweets.
Trips to Florida to see my other step-grandparents, Murph and Joe, were mini-vacations
Riding around the village on old-fashioned bicycles, or on the golf cart with Murph.
Relaxing on the beautiful beaches and out by the pool,
The perfect temperature and just the right amount of sun shining and a great breeze blowing made it feel like Heaven.
Tiny iguanas running along the pavement and pool,
Palm trees and sweet oranges trees blooming all around.
I also grew up with a great set of friends,
From preschool, when they convinced me that if I ate a helicopter seed I would have a baby,
To playing house together in After Care, arguing over who got to have Zac Efron as their boyfriend or which of us was the older sister,
And middle and high school together, laughing when we all ended up in the same classes
Which made it feel like grade school days again.
Growing up together made us more than just friends,
It also made us a family.
I didn’t grow up hiding away in my room.
I grew up watching What I Like About You after school at my dad’s house,
With the wild, yet oddly enjoyable sound of his punk music filling the house
And the scent of whatever that night’s dinner was drifting in from the kitchen.
I grew up doing my homework in the living room,
Sitting next to my mom grading papers, begging her to let me help.
I knew the very familiar fragrance of Aveda hairspray
And watched countless hours of The Food Network,
Curled up in warm blankets in the basements, with little Christmas lights hung up along the ceiling,
The calm and happy music of Jack Johnson and John Hiatt in the background.
I learned a lot growing up.
I was taught to respect everyone,
To make sure I was polite and kind,
I was taught to appreciate every race, religion, and sexual orientation,
I was taught that if I try my hardest I could succeed at anything.
But most importantly,
I learned that no matter how many homes I live in, or how many sets of parents and grandparents I may have,
The family I grew up with is absolutely the most loving, supportive, and amusing family I could ever ask for
And I wouldn’t change a thing about it.