You’re probably looking at these photos and thinking, “omg do they really eat that much?” The answer to that question would be yes. More than I could possibly show in one post. When we went home any and all dietary restrictions were tossed to the wind. My poor mom never left the kitchen as she labored away cooking all of our favorites, along with a ton of new ones. The only break we gave her was when we bought Shipley’s donuts for breakfast one morning, made homemade pizzas one evening, and took her out to dinner for her birthday. We figured she deserved at least that much.
Our days more or less followed the same routine: we woke up at 7am, drove to Starbucks (drive though!) for coffee, came home, ate a gourmet breakfast, sat around the table talking, ate lunch, ran errands, watched crappy tv, ate a snack, played with the new kitty, ate dinner, played video games or read books, ate ice cream cones, watched movies. Repeat. We also spent a lot of time with my nephew and with my brother’s newly adopted rescue kitty, Bella.
Time moved at a slower pace back home in Texas. Even after all this time, nothing ever seemed to change. The donut shop that we ate at as children still completely untouched by time. My homecoming mum from Junior? Senior? year in high school still hanging in the same exact location where I hung it the night of the homecoming game. We reverted to our old roles — me as big sister, Marc as little brother, all of us still children instead of all of us as adults.
In my shelf of old tape cassettes I stumbled on a tape that I thought was lost long ago. “Daddy’s birthday, Germany,” written neatly on the front in my mom’s distinct handwriting. I scrounged around for an old tape player and popped in the tape, and in that brief moment, it was as if time folded on itself, tumbling inward until it snapped me back to that exact moment so many years ago. I heard a younger version of my mom, my sister as a toddler, me as a baby singing to my dad, reaching out after all all those years, as clear as if it were yesterday. It was my dad’s voice that really felt like a punch to the gut, as if he were sitting in that very room having a conversation with us. Except it was a younger version of my dad, his voice so different yet still instantly recognizable, still Dad.
The experience of going home is always both so foreign and so familiar — the slightest of changes becoming the most jarring to my frozen memories. I pointed out places and memories to Sly then would second guess myself. Was that store always there? Did the gas station where we always walked to get chips and a coke close? Didn’t that used to be… Is _____ still open? Whatever happened to ____? Things looked different, felt different, and yet then they didn’t. My heart still told me it was home. That I grew up here. That part of me still belonged here. And always would.