To the town that raised me:
Thank you for being the vessel for a wonderful childhood.
Thank you for raising my parents and my parents’ parents.
Thank you for being safe and supportive.
Thank you for giving me the best friends a person could ask for; friends who I’ve known since birth that still stand by me two decades later.
Your roads are etched in my brain; I could walk them blindfolded. I can remember countless nights wandering around with friends, which eventually turned into driving around with friends– loitering at whichever hangout was popular at the time and talking about everything and anything. You have made even the simplest activities into some of my best memories.
You gave me the space I needed to flourish; to grow into a confident, creative, and capable young woman. You gave me free reign to make mistakes and raise a little hell– which ultimately shaped me into a leader. I never realized until recently how much impact you actually had on my personality. I am me because of you.
Although I can’t picture myself staying with you forever, I can picture myself coming back to visit for the rest of my life. How could I ever forget the town that raised me? You taught me to ride a bike (and to not use the front brakes!), you had shortcuts in case I was running late for curfew, and you instilled some of my most important values. You showed me tragedy, triumph, and trying. You hold all of my favorite memories.
Even though growing up in a rural community has many drawbacks, it certainly has its advantages. How about being able to walk two minutes to see your friends and family? Knowing everyone around? Learning the value of hard work at a young age? Learning to appreciate the littlest things in life? Even when I live somewhere else, you will always be home. I will always be grateful for what you’ve given me. Sure, there is a lot out there I want to see and experience that you can never offer me, but there is nowhere in the world that could have given me this life that I love, but you.
I am sorry that I took you for granted. Sorry that it took leaving you to realize how lucky I was. Sorry for ever calling you lame, bland, or boring. It isn’t until now, in my twenties, that I’ve realized even being bored with you was a blessing.