The beau and I spent a long weekend in southwest Ohio, or what I like to call “home.”
I was born about an hour south of Chicago, and my family moved to a Cinci suburb when I was in fifth grade. While I was off in college in the other corner of the state, they up and moved back to Illinois. When I graduated, I worked in Illinois for three years before heading to Indiana, where I currently live.
Despite all the moves, all the states, the jobs, the people … southwest Ohio is my home. When I visit, I get a feeling that can only be described as giddy. The views, the streets, the simple geography is in my veins.
For the first time in our 2 1/2-year relationship, I got to bring Jeff “home.” I got to show him where I went to high school. He got to meet my bestie’s family. We were the attached-at-the-hip type, so when her parents told me I’m welcome at their lake house any time, even if their daughter is not there, I know they’re not lying.
He also got to meet The Second Family, the crew I started babysitting for when I was 12 who have become so much more than that. (Does everyone have a Second Family? In my experience, most do, so I hope this relationship makes sense beyond “Those people I used to babysit for.”)
On the trip, I watched my fiance and my best friend jump off a pontoon boat and swim back to shore (see above — I really adore that pic). I watched him chat with the fellow whose children took up pretty much every Saturday night during junior high and high school. I drove him past the house I grew up in and pointed to a giant tree towering over the house. My brother gave that tree to my mom as a mother’s day gift when it was nothing more than a twig in a Styrofoam cup.
He got to understand why this is the place I would so, so, so love to “end up” someday, and on the drive home, I told him, “I feel like you know me better now.”