I spent the first 18 years of my life in Kansas. I was raised in a small town plopped down in the middle of wheat fields. I have almost lived as much of my life outside of Kansas as in it, but there will always be something special about the place where I grew up, had my first kiss, ran cross country, and graduated from high school.
Those images that are burned into my memory come alive whenever I go back. I can see myself walking those streets or jumping off that porch or swimming in that pool.
I have the sensation that I may run into someone that I knew from long ago. Although I look very different now, I know they will instantly see me as that skinny 8-year-old I used to be.
I can teach my children a little bit about who their mother is and where she came from.
I realize what a journey I have made and how different I am today. And yet, I can’t help but feel that I am that same little girl inside.
Though I would not trade my life that exists 1800 miles away from Kansas for anything, it is good to be back in the presence of my mom and dad, grandmas, aunts and uncles, cousins, and those that love me because of a shared history and a deep familial connection.