∞ Tuesday Weigh-in: 181.6 ∞
If you have ever asked a stranger where he/she is from and had that person stare back at you with a momentary deer-in-headlights look, chances are better than even you were talking to a military brat. I have always hated being asked that question. What goes through my head is: You mean where was I born? Or where did I go to high school? Or where do I visit family? Or where do I call home?
You’d think that after 41 years I would have a stock answer, and I guess I do, but I still have that moment of anxiety as soon as the question comes up. Honesty means a lot to me, so I want to be truthful in my answer, but any answer feels like a lie.
I was born in Arkansas, but I didn’t live there for any meaningful length of time. My parents were on their way from one assignment (Hawaii) to the next (California), so my mom went to her home to have me. See, both my parents were born and raised in Arkansas. Because of that, I was raised with a lot of Southern influence, but I’ve never really lived in the south. I lived in Texas for a while, but that’s not really the south – Texas is a place all its own and I don’t think most Texans would disagree with me there. So, I was born in Arkansas, but that’s not where I’m from.
We moved to Colorado when I was almost 12 and stayed there until I went to college. My dad actually retired there so that my older brother wouldn’t have to move to Pakistan for his senior year of high school. I’m grateful to him for that because I loved my time there. For a long time, that was my answer to the dreaded question. Those ‘Native’ license plates they have there used to taunt me, though. I wanted one so much, but couldn’t ever bring myself to get one. Probably just as well because Colorado felt less like home when my mom moved away. I followed her and, when I would make trips back to Colorado, it felt less familiar somehow. Like I was seeing a vaguely familiar face in a crowd, but couldn’t place it. Then my dad got sick and, after he died, there was no family to tie me there anymore. I still miss Fargo’s pizza, but I hear via Facebook friends that it’s not what it used to be, so I guess I should give that up. Right, me giving up longing for pizza. That’s gonna happen. Anyway, so I went to high school in Colorado, but that’s not where I’m from.
I followed my mom to Texas. Only for my mom would I have ever considered moving back to Texas (we were stationed there just before moving to Colorado). I’m glad I did because I got to spend lots of time with her and lots of time getting to know my stepfather. And because that’s where I met Sparky. Plus there’s plenty of good food*. I also met some great people. I never really fit in there, though. You know that Lyle Lovett song that has the line, “That’s right, you’re not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway”? Yeah, I think I might be the exception to that. And the feeling’s more than mutual. You see, it’s really hot there*. I’m not so good with the heat. So, Texas is where I visit family, both mine and Sparky’s, but it’s not home. People here sometimes assume I’m from there because that’s where we lived just before we moved here, but that doesn’t make it home for me either. Texas is not where I’m from.
While we were still living in Texas, I used to count the years I lived there and freak out a little more every year that the number approached the amount of time I’d spent in Colorado. I was afraid I would have to start thinking of Texas as home. I considered counting my college years as years spent living in Colorado because I never changed to a California driver’s license, but couldn’t seem to get it past my internal lie detector. I do count the year that I lived there between college and moving to Texas, though. That makes eight years. We left Texas at the end of August 2001, meaning I had been there eight years as well. That was a close one.
I’m bringing all this up because I realized the other day that, as of September of this year, we have lived in the Pacific Northwest for nine years. That’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my life. I love it here. I love the beautiful landscape and the weather. The culture is casual and just the right amount of friendly for my taste most of the time. It’s where we’re raising our boys, where they’re from. I think it might be home. I think I might be home. It’s kind of a weird feeling for me, but I think I may have found an answer to the question. An honest one. I’m honestly home.
*It finally got hot here last week. It’s been in the 50s and rainy all summer until it decided to top 100 last Tuesday. At least, I think it was Tuesday. I sort of lose track of days sometimes. Anyway, most people, when confronted with heat like this, don’t feel like eating. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. I want to eat all the time. Not just any food though, I want to eat whatever takes the least amount of energy to get to my mouth. Junk food, fast food, sweet, salty, fatty goodness is what I want. And I want to sit on the couch and not move a muscle. While I was sitting on the couch not moving, I started thinking about my weight gain in relation to the heat. See, when I moved to Texas, I weighed 160 pounds. That’s at the top of my ideal weight range, but it’s still not even in the overweight category for my height. Eight years later, when I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I weighed 240 pounds. I’ve bounced between 225 and 240 over the intervening years, but, other than during pregnancy, I haven’t been over 240. Meaning that I’ve maintained my weight all the time I’ve lived here. It’s always funny to me that people who met me after I had BeBop assume that my weight gain was due to pregnancy. I actually lost the baby weight pretty quickly with both boys. It’s what I now think of as the heat weight that I couldn’t seem to lose.
BTW, here’s a picture of me before I went to bunko last night. The shirt I bought a year or so ago in a moment of hope is a size 14/16 and is almost too big now. Yay me!
Wow Michele! You’re doing so great. You look so pretty. Knew you could do it! Go you!
We weren’t military brats, my parents just moved us around a lot. I’ve only lived in three states, but many different towns, and many, many different houses. This is the longest I have ever lived in one house, 13 years (and I’ll be 49 this summer). Where are you in the PNW? I’m in Eugene. Been here since I was 12 (9 addresses ago), with a break of 3 years to go south for my husband while in college. The photos are wonderful! What an amazingly great job you are doing. (Totally relate to heat weight, by the way.)
Shoot, forgot to sign that.
Wowza, you look beautiful! So proud of you, my dear friend, so proud it brings me to tears.
Now – a few words (and I never comment, so this is somewhat of a surprise, I’m sure) about “home.” I did not come from a military family, but I did move around as a child as well – and my four years at UK were the longest I had ever lived “anywhere” growing up. Then five years at IU, etc. — but I decided something 13 years ago. Something I believe to be true – My truth, at least.
Home is where you want your children to be from. I wanted my children to be from Kentucky. I wanted them to close their eyes and see the white horse fences and blue skies and foals running in the fields next to their mares and feel “home.” So, I am raising them here. This will be their “home” – even if they leave it someday.
So, your boys will have the Pacific Northwest as “home” – because that is where you and Sparky decided to raise them. When they close their eyes and think of home – they will think of tall conifers and mountains and the rich smell of the water in the air. No matter where they end up.
I’m glad you are home. And, it hasn’t escaped me – and you, I’m sure – that the mountains and conifers of Colorado aren’t so vastly different than those in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe you just needed more “wet.”
hey girl, just saw your pic. Let me say one thing. You’re one hot mama, as Trace Adkins would sing!!!!! Boy Rob, your one lucky young man!!!! Keep up the good work…
Hay beautiful lady… You look wonderful. You must be very proud of all that you have accomplished. Can’t wait to see all of you.