A new perspective on home

For much of the last month, we’ve been in Iowa visiting my family. If you ask me today where I’m from, I’ll tell you Texas, but no where has been home for me as long as Iowa. My parents still live in the house they moved into when I was just about 6 months old, so when I come back here, it feels very homey to me. Bob’s always asking me if I need directions or the Garmin or if I know where I’m going and, even now, it’s pretty rare that I can’t find my way around Council Bluffs. If home is at least partially about familiarity, then Iowa is certainly home for me.
This trip is really the first time in about 15 years that I’ve been here for anything longer than a couple days without a big family event. It’s really given me the time and space to stop and look and reflect.
I have been truly blessed by a wonderful family. They are welcoming and interested and interesting. In a span of two weeks, we got to see all of my nieces and nephews participate in their various activities. We saw two high school homecoming football games so that we could see the marching bands perform. We watched two pee-wee football games (one tackle and one flag), one volleyball game, one soccer game, one cross country meet, a tumbling practice and a Tai Kwan Do practice. It felt like a real treat to be a participant in their “normal” lives, if only for a few days. We are certainly proud of all their accomplishments and of the wonderful people they are.
In addition to their activities, we hosted a birthday dinner for my sister that included some of my extended family; had a sleepover at our coach with 4 of the kids that included watching Iowa State football on the outside tv and roasting marshmallows; and were joined by my parents for a few days camping and site seeing in Madison County Iowa. We saw 5 of the 6 famous covered “Bridges of Madison County”. With the fall colors, they were pretty spectacular.
So, how has my perspective changed? First, family has always been important to us, but participating in “real life” gives us a chance to see that they’re special even in the everyday. Also, despite our vastly different lives, there’s a common thread and connection that is effortless. Second, Iowa is BEAUTIFUL in the fall. Truly. I suppose I am fortunate to have fond memories of “leaf crunching” hikes growing up because I’ve always looked forward to this season. With time to explore and look around, it’s amazing to see how many colors and contrasts the area has to offer. Reds, golds, yellows, bright greens and tans make for a beautiful color palette on almost every vista. Finally, rural Iowa has very bad cellular data options. Being “disconnected” from our online friends and family has been hard, at times. We are going to need to investigate our options in this area some more so that we can keep in touch.
We will post some pictures from our Iowa adventures when we get to our Kansas City family and real wifi.

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