Homesick for Alabama (but NOT the Tornadoes)

It’s been almost 10 months since we made our move from Alabama to Georgia, and there’s one thing I certainly don’t miss: severe weather. While friends and family have been rocked by tornado outbreaks two weeks in a row, I’ve watched our trusted meteorologist’s page from afar and been in awe of a springtime that doesn’t require recurring use of a sheltered “safe place.” 

Did you know? I can actually count how many times it has stormed here in Monroe — lightning and thunder — since August. My 6-year-old is still not completely trusting of this new weather arrangement, which is a bit amusing considering for years she loved it when she had to put on her bicycle helmet, sit in the guest bathroom tub and watch the iPad. She got excited when she saw us pulling out the severe weather kit. Which was often. Her little headphones kept her oblivious to the power of mother nature outside and me thankful for the power of technology. 

Yep. Definitely things I don’t miss from our old life.

But plenty of things that I do.

Last weekend, Cora asked my husband what ‘homesick’ was and he looked to me for help. 

“It’s when you miss someone a whole lot, like when you spend the night at Paw-Paw’s house and you miss mama and daddy,” I explained. “And it makes your throat feel tight, like you want to cry, and your tummy sometimes hurts, too.”

Pretty good description, right? I thought so. 

I’ve gotten little bouts of homesickness these past 10 months. I miss being able to pop over to see my parents and my sister, my niece and nephew. If I’m being honest, I miss having babysitters. I miss my favorite sushi place, and can’t begin to describe how much I miss our family doctor, the man who’s taken care of my girls since they were only three days old. 

I miss our house, with its giant front window looking out at the mountain and horse pasture. I miss opening the blinds each morning and waiting for the sun to peep over the top. Our daily drives over that mountain marked the seasons so clearly, and I’ve missed seeing the trees come alive.

I miss our best friends, with whom we shared snow days and football Saturdays and that now, too, I can count how many times we’ve spent together since we moved. 

I awoke this morning to find that everyone in my Alabama circle is safe and sound after Thursday’s storms, and am once again reminded that there are definitely memories I’m not keen to recreate here in our new place. And while I’m sure there will be bouts of “Alabama homesick” for the rest of my days, I look forward to new memories, new sushi places, new friends, new traditions, and redefining the meaning of “safe space” in mine & my children’s minds. 

* This column first appeared in The Walton Tribune on March 27, 2021 *

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