It's been a long, hard road since my parents divorced, but I now feel my family is in the best place it's been in 5 years....and last night I made my way home. On the way, I drove through my old town, staring at my old people, smelling my old smells, driving my old roads with the same curves and bumps and dips and hills, seeing my old pond, and spying on my old neighbors. It's still mine. My heart just blew right up inside of me screaming "it's still yours. This Waterloo is still yours."
...and I was so happy.
I went back to the place I grew up to sort the attic with my mom and sister, milling through boxes and boxes of memories. Collecting mine and making piles for my Laura sister and two younger brothers. The attic felt the same. It was hot and slightly stuffy like it should be this time of year. The floor boards squeaked where they were supposed to squeak and the ceiling sloped as it always did.
(Emily and I wearing her old prom dresses, the Mill Pond Dam)
When I left last night, I was overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude for the place I grew up, the people I grew up with and the family that raised me. I would go back and do it all again in a heartbeat if I could.
My sister posted these pictures on her facebook and a fellow Waterlooer commented:
"Spent lots of summers looking at that same view. Miss living there. The world will never know people, place, or time like the Waterloo we grew up in."
My wish for my children is that their childhoods provide that something that I had growing up in Waterloo, the place that will never be taken out of me.