Thursday, October 8, 2009

"You can't have roots and wings"

That quote is from one of my favorite (and cutest) movies: "Sweet Home Alabama".

I was raised in a small town in South Georgia. I won't even say the name, because if you're not from, or around, there, you don't know where it's at anyway. My parents still live in the same neighborhood/house that we lived in when we first moved there when I was in 7th grade. (Side note: I was actually born in another town, and that's my hometown, but it's not my "home" town.) There's really not much to do there. It's your typical small town. Everyone knows everyone. Growing up, all I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could.

And I did just that. After I graduated, I was gone within two weeks. My life took several different paths at that point. I married, divorced, then decided I'd leave the state. I had no one to answer to and no children. I saw my chance. I promptly moved to San Francisco, California. And that's where my life began to get really interesting and fun.

I met, and befriended, some great people out there - some of us still keep in touch. All of us were from different walks of life. It's also where I found my "far-away-home". They accepted me out there. I was still Tammy From Georgia, but I was allowed to just be "me". I had a great job, a couple of great apartments, and ever better friends. I gambled in Vegas, visited Los Angeles, learned to snowboard (and gambled) in Lake Tahoe, visited Napa Valley (several times), watch the Oakland A's, ate at some of the finest restaurants, saw some of the finest plays, met some bad ass drag queens, went to the E.E. Ball (my Mother would be horrified!), Sears Point Raceway to see Jeff Gordon kick ass, and saw other places and visited other sites around the state. Jen and I had legendary Halloween parties, and gatherings in general. Kim and I partied and danced up a storm at the top clubs in town. I loved everything about California. They have a whole different set of rules there.

After my Great-Grandmother ("Gramp") and Grandfather ("Granddaddy Folds") passed away within a year of one another, I thought it best that I get closer to home. Those last minute cross-country flights are expensive, ya know. I also, by then, had the first of two nephews and a niece being born and I didn't want to miss out on their growin up. I found my "out" (although I did not want to leave CA), in that my company was moving its home office to Ohio.

Now, let me just say this right now. I never said to myself growing up "I want to live in Ohio". Who says that? Nevertheless, I moved with the company to Columbus, Ohio and ended up loving it -- and The Ohio State Buckeyes. I met, and dated, a Frenchman (originally from Paris) for 5 years. Although he was great at vacations, he sucked as a boyfriend. We won't even get in to that drama. But while with him, we took vacations to Austria and Germany (for a two week ski trip with his family that still lived in France) and to France and Switzerland (while he was on his 2-week R&R from deployment - Major in the Army Reserves and was on deployment to Afghanistan). We also went to Utah together on business and I learned to snow ski (which is really cool), so I was able to ski some pretty rad slopes in Austria. He also had a 30' cabin cruiser that we took to the lake, and to Put-In-Bay, almost every weekend during the Summer.

And it was fun.

But, with all that fun, so far away from home, comes homesickness. I'd just purchased a brand new two-story condo in the "in" area of Columbus and furnished it with all brand new furniture. Once I got settled in, I started realizing that although I had some really cool friends and a great just wasn't "home". I mean, it was my home, and I loved that place...but it wasn't "home".

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Home is where the heart is". Or, "Home is where you make it". And that's true to a certain extent. But to me, "home" will always be my Mama's house -- and that small town.

I missed my family.

I was missing graduations, nieces/nephews being born, little league games, family Thanksgiving's, family Christmas', family reunions, old friends...and that small town life. Now, I came home for most of the holidays, but not always. And that wears you down after a while.

You see, although I loved my life and I'd done all (well, most all) that I wanted to, I was missing home. I knew that if I came home, that I wouldn't have this awesome life I'd been living. I'd have an even better life -- because then my family would be a part of it again.

I'd traveled so much, seen so much. But what was more important was home, family, and that small town that I wished for so many years to get the hell away from.

So, after a year of owning the condo I put it up for sale, gave a 3-month notice at work, and I came home. I live in a centrally-located area that's convenient to my home (where I was raised) and my hometown (where I was born, and where most of my family live). I am also only an hour away from Atlanta, which I luuurrrvvvveee and can head up there when I need a taste of big city life.

See, you make a choice. "You can't have roots and wings". You can't live in two places you love. You live at what you make is your home...and then you fly away every now and then. But you come back.

I chose "home".

And although there's a part of me that will never be the same person as I was when I first left... the rest of me will always be the same person I was.

Just a small town Southern girl.


  1. So true...and so beautifully written! I've lived in Nashville my whole life...but right now I live about 20 miles from my hometown, just north of Nashville. It's weird going back feels more like home than anywhere else I live. Still, it's not like I'm 500 miles away from my hometown. Many things in my life are still the same.

  2. Amen. Mostly.

    I'd say the key is that *you* have to decide where you call home, and when. Or "home." No one can tell you where it should be. I've worked hard to build "home" where I've been because the people who thought they knew where home should be kept pushing it when it didn't fit.

    Now, as the side of the family that didn't push have been totally accepting of me as an adult, and of my right to build my own life and my own home, I find it feels more like..."home."

    Odd, that. I think I need a post of my own to think that through. (Thanks...I think.)

  3. Thanks Stephanie!

    Jen - You could write this blog MUCH better than I! I'd love to read your take on it!

    And you are correct, *you* have to decide what home/"home" is to you. It's different for everyone. I have a home here at my apartment. And I love it and I could easily make my home here in Macon. But "home" is Mama's house. I guess because I'm most comfortable there. I've always been at my happiest point in life the moment I walk in the door.

    I could end up turning my home here into my "home", but then Mama's would be Home (capital "H")... And then we'd have a whole other blog to deal with. ;-)

    But seriously, I get what you're saying. Home/"home" is what you make it...what it becomes for *you*.

  4. I think if I migrated from Michigan I would miss my family, but that's it!! At least you can say you tried some place different.

    Excellent post

  5. I agree...but the quote in the movie is actually "you can have roots and wings"

  6. @Anonymous - No, it's "you can't have roots and wings". Google it.

  7. Actually it's:

    "Since when does it have to be
    one or the other?

    You can have roots
    and wings, Mel."

  8. I loved your post. I'm at a cross roads. I want roots and wings, but I think it has to be one or the other. :/

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  10. Actually in the movie he says she doesn't have to chose and she can have roots and wings...I do however relate to your story, a lot...being from a foreign country and all..


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