I don't want to start this off by saying I have a small case of the post-holiday, missing my family blues. But there I went. I wanted to start off by saying I got to spend an amazing 10 days with friends and family back in Charleston after being away for a whole year - the longest I've gone without seeing my mom, sisters, nieces, nephew, and friends from Charleston. It took me less than a day to sink into the familiar comfort of home, curled up on mom's couch while she cooked something fabulous in the kitchen (poached eggs with fresh spinach and hollandaise for dinner? Yum.), hugging my sisters and nieces and my BFF Mary Kathryn, staying up late at night talking to my mom, shopping with my sister Katie and MK (always expeditions in hilariousness), lunch with my writer friend Angie that came with some nice inspiration, meeting my almost-6-month-old niece and namesake (Jolie Love) for the first time and getting to pinch her chubby little cheeks in person, feeling so much love surrounded my family and extended family and friends, it spoiled me just a tiny bit.
Now that I'm back in Austin, I feel invigorated, less homesick, stocked up on the family love, comforted, and so grateful that I was able to spend so much time with them. It snowed, giant fluffy flakes, the day after Christmas...like magic. I slept every single night I was there like I haven't in a year...going to bed after midnight and waking up at 7am ready to go. Why don't I sleep like that in Austin? I've been waking up earlier than usual since I've gotten back and don't want to sleep until noon, but I also wake up a lot at night here. Is it the quiet in Charleston versus living on a fairly busy street across from a bus stop in Austin? Or was it being back with family and feeling safe? After a year in Austin, I think I've done a pretty good job of getting myself into a safe space. And now I have new memories of being back home to lull myself to sleep.
It's hard being away, but I realize how much has changed in a year. I've made friends in Austin. I love this city. It's not where my family is, but they're not as far away as it felt they were a month ago. And yes, I drove - 2 days each way - and it didn't kill me. The massage I got on Sunday after I returned helped, and so did the audio books that kept me entertained on the road. But something else is different: Now I know I can come home, even though things have changed in all of our lives, what I love the most doesn't change. As soon as I arrived and my mother gave me a great big "mom hug," I knew I was home and that home will always be there - no matter where I end up.
Yes, I'm rambling a bit, but I also promised above-mentioned writer friend that I'd blog more, blog more honestly, write even when I don't want to, write about things I don't want to write about, and get back to the "old Kelly Love." The one (thank you, Angie!), who is "the sh*t."
I feel so lucky to have the friends and family I have. I don't know many people who would pick the family members they've been assigned, but I would. If my sisters and nieces weren't already related to me, I'd love them anyway. And on top of that, I have some amazing friends. The simple version of what I'm trying to say in way too many words: I feel loved. And if feels great.