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Home has dual meaning to both Bryan and I. We have always referred to Marion and Surfside as our home. There are so many positives and negatives to both places that I think we have become torn on which really is home for us. But, as we made our trip ‘home’ this time, we found a different meaning to what and where home really is.

As soon as we were on the road, we both felt it…a peaceful realization that is, that brought with it the sense that we were a ‘true’ family now and therefore, wherever we went, there was our ‘home’. And it was more than apparent, as I looked around at our traveling arrangements. It was comical in many ways. In the front, Bryan drove and Floyd (our 13 year old Beagle-Hound mix) rode shotgun with the armrest as his pillow. In the backseat, Garrett and I were comfortably seated and holding up the rear, was Saelac (our 8 year old Rottie) enjoying the most space he’s ever had on a trip home! (If you could see his, you would understand why I write that…he’s 160 lbs of LOVE.) Not only did we have the boys with us. we also had a small u-haul trailer that we towed behind carrying our suitcases and a table for Bryan’s parents that we could no longer accommodate in the house. We were definitely a sight, but we were family and this was HOME for the next 7 hours.

In those hours I remember thinking, these are the best days of our lives. I had always thought that it was my teen years that were the best or maybe the year I turned 21, but as we traveled I realized we were making memories as a family. Memories, that would last for a lifetime and memories that would be told around the dinner table as Garrett grew older.

And yet, it never fails that whenever we hit the NC mountains, our hearts leap for joy to be entering the Blue Ridge country because we knew we were than much closer to being ‘home’. Memories of running through the hills when we were little come to mind. The landscape always takes us away, and brings us back to a simpler time. A carefree time, picking apples and blackberries. I fondly remember getting potatoes from the creek cellar or climbing trees in the twilight of evening. I think back to watching thunderstorms on the porch, as my paw-paw told stories and I snuggled up next to him. I remembered helping in the garden and then riding bikes on dirt roads and up into the mountains of Bear Creek. One of my most vivid winter memories, involved building a snowman in front of the Atkins Elementary School. It was a great place to grow up as a child.

We miss that beauty, simplicity, and family that Marion holds. Now more than ever, family means more than anything to us. We long to be near our relatives and wish for Garrett to be able to be close to his grandparents. We have contemplated moving closer many times and the feeling that we should gets stronger with each visit back…

Yet, we struggle with giving up the ‘home’ we have now and think about all the wonderful things that living here offers. A beautiful house with a big backyard that is only a short mile or so to the beach. The balmy nights and the sweet smell of Jasmine in the air and frogs singing outside the back deck. But, best of all, it has the three of us and a growing assortment of new memories that we will create as a family because this is where our hearts reside at the moment.

And perhaps, when Garrett grows older, he will look back on his memories of ‘home’ and they will be just as great as the ones we have of Marion.

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