I moved to Minnesota a little over 5 1/2 years ago.
The worst part of leaving was knowing that I was leaving people behind, people that I love with every ounce of my heart.
I miss seeing my mom. And I want my kids to get to know their grandmother. (She was beyond thrilled when they officially became her grandchildren.) I miss going to lunch with her and talking about life. We have a weird relationship. We fight a lot and butt heads due to being so alike but she's always in my corner, no matter what I do or how bad I screw up.
My mother has told me (and it was confirmed by her mom a few times) that all she wanted was a baby girl. And she wanted the baby to be tall and not have red hair. (Check and check.) And since I'm an only child, I have always been in her vision... even when you think she's not looking.
Even at my age, I always want to call her when something is wrong or life seems to be twisting me into a pretzel. I miss her so much.
Manda is not actually my sister and the twins aren't really my nieces. I met them when the twins were only 7 months old. Manda and I quickly became friends and by the time the girls were around 1 and a half, Manda started calling me "Aunt Jaime".
The twins don't remember life before me and I cannot imagine a life without them.
Over 13 years later, Manda is the sister that I never had but always wanted. She has my back no matter what and I can talk to her about anything and never feel ashamed.
I learned so much about kids and being a mom by being with the girls and Manda almost daily when I still lived in Tennessee.
I saw the twins go from toothless, hairless little drooling machines with poopy diapers to 14 year old freshman, navigating the rough world of high school. (Sometimes, I still picture them back in the day, wearing their onesies and drooling on me while eating cookies.)
I only get to see all of them a few times a year and when I do, we seem to be trying to squeeze months at a time into one week. And the week never lasts long enough.
When it's time to come back 'home' to Minnesota, my heart begins to ache. (And it's not just the weather we are coming back to.) Many times as we are driving away from their house on the last night, I burst into tears and curse that I have to leave.
This year, we have only seen my mom 3 times and Manda and the twins twice. In June, we saw my mom for less than 24 hours passing through town. Back in August we saw my mom, the twins and Manda for a few hours on the way home from Hilton Head and then in October. It just wasn't enough.
We have been home less than a week and I already miss them so much that it takes my breath away when I think about them.
I miss going shopping with my mom and arguing over what I will never wear (usually the stuff she picks out).
I miss sitting with Manda drinking coffee, talking about whatever happens to come up.
I miss listening to the girls talk about high school and thanking god I am not in it anymore.
I love that as the girls get older, they understand a lot more (including dirty jokes).
And I miss Poopy. Their Weimaraner is 8 years old and he's spoiled rotten. (Manda's fault not mine. Nope. I had nothing to do with that. Not a thing.)
How could you NOT miss this face?
Leaving Tennessee to come back to Minnesota gets harder and harder to do each time.