there’s no place like home…

Folks, I’m so homesick it’s not even funny. I miss Kansas so badly on some days that my heart actually hurts. My family, most of all, but some of the weird little stuff too…less traffic, less people, less weird bugs, more space, less trees…I could go on forever.

What amazes me is that not all that long ago, I couldn’t wait to get out. Maryland is never what I had in mind, but I did want out. I wanted to be close enough that I could get home for long weekends, but far enough away that I was an adult, independent, doing my own thing. Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, that kind of thing. I have and always will love Kansas, but everyone gets stir crazy now and then. I was ready to get out and do something new in a place I’d never been before. I needed to stretch my legs, and I never in a million years expected that I would long for some of the most boring parts of my beautiful home state.

Moving to Maryland was an adventure I never expected. If you’ve read any of my series on being a military spouse, you’ll know I honestly had no desire to be a military wife. The transient lifestyle, the military bases, the rental homes because you’re never in one place long enough to settle down…it all scared me. Maryland is 1,200 miles away from the place I called home for almost 22 years and it couldn’t be a more different set-up. It’s so busy and full, and a lot of the time I love that about living on the East coast. The beaches and big tourist traps and major cities, it’s all so much fun and offers so many options for exploration. However, when you spend 22 years watching fields as you pass by on the highway and suddenly all you see is trees and buildings, a little piece of you starts to ache for a good ‘ole Kansas sunset over a wide open field. I stalk people from Kansas on Instagram. I comment obsessively on their Kansas-related photos. I’m losing it, and it’s taken several months for me to figure out what the hell is going on.

I’m learning to have more than one home. For 22 years, I spent my days in Kansas. I grew up there, I had a lot of firsts there, and I achieved some amazing things…but I’ve been living in Maryland for almost a year and a half now. I’m growing here too, I’ve had a lot of firsts here, and I’m accomplishing some amazing things that I never even thought possible. I habitually refer to my place here as home in conversation. When I talk about going home, I don’t mean I’m hopping a plane to the Midwest. It makes me sad in some ways, to think about growing up and moving on from all of the wonderful things that I love about my home in Kansas, but I think what’s important to remember as a military spouse (or anyone that moves frequently) is this:

Home is seriously where the heart is. It’s a cheesy saying, but it’s so true. The biggest chunk of my heart will always stay in Kansas. Kelly and I both have every intention of moving back someday and we talk all the time about the great things we’ll get to experience by being back in the Midwest. A piece of my heart will always be here, in Maryland. We got married here (twice). This was the first place we ever lived together, my first big girl job, the place where we got our dogs. Pieces of our hearts are left in every single place we call home and while it can be hard to be away from one of those places, I know I am so lucky to have made a home here, too. So when I feel too cramped or I have a breakdown about how hard it is to only see our families once or twice a year, I try to focus on that–I look at the house we have, I look at our dogs, I look at all of the amazing memories we’re creating, and I remember how lucky I am to have so many places to call home, and to go home to.

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