Well, guys....It happened.
Freshman year actually happened, and tomorrow... it will all be officially over.
I went to college.
Wow. Just wow.
It's the night before move-out day....
It's strange-- remembering the night before move-in day. The memory only looks like a movie in my mind now-- I was never actually a part of it, I can only watch it from the back row of a dark theatre I get lost trying to find.
The night before move-in day, my sisters and I spent the evening simply enjoying each other's company. When the night came to an end, I cried.
I cried because I was sad. I cried because I hate change. I cried because I wasn't excited. I cried because I was afraid. I was afraid of leaving him. I was afraid of leaving my family. I was afraid of leaving my home. I was afraid of all I didn't know, and I was afraid of all I did. I cried, and I cried, and I cried because I was afraid of everything that is now over.
Caroline found me. She hugged me, and she cried, too. We walked upstairs and into my newly barren bedroom. Ruthie enters, bawling. In the same fashion, Gin isn't far behind. The four of us held each other and cried... And cried... And cried. We were all afraid. None of us new what home was about to become.
I will never forget this night. Mom always says, "Home is wherever we all are together." The five most important people in my world were all there together and all right where home asked them to be. Home was so important. Home was everything I needed. Home was what I didn't want to leave. This was the last night that Birmingham was ever my home because home is where we, the people who love each other the most, are all there together.
All school year long, I longed for Birmingham- for that feeling of home that I hadn't really felt since the night before I moved away. Weekend visits weren't enough, but I was sure this summer would be.... I was wrong.
Two weeks ago, I spent Easter weekend in Birmingham. While I was there, I realized for the first time that Birmingham is no longer home. Everything it stood for has changed. I want it to be home again, but it can't be... not right now. Right now, I don't really have a home-- or more so-- I don't really have a home pinned down and piled up all in one place. If home is where the people you love the most are all there together, home is going to be untangible for a little while. For next few years, the people I love the most aren't going to be altogether.... but it's okay. It's part of growing-- growing out of the home of your past and into the home of your future. The thing is, in growing, you can't have your future (or your past) in your present. So, until my present becomes my future-- I'll just keep growing and growing while I'm a little bit homeless.
Someone recently told me, "Rosie, you have to grow where you are planted." Conveniently, I share my name with a flower, so this proclamation paired with my name got my mind rolling:
You know that lovely rose bush next door? What all did that lovely rose bush have to go through before it could be the pride and joy of your elderly neighbor's garden?
Well, it began as a little baby rose, nutured in the no-customers-allowed green house of a gardenshop. That little baby rose was really comfortable in its green house, its home, but the gardenshop owner knew it would be happier in the backyard of your elderly neighbor. So when it was old enough, he took it out of the green house and placed it on a in a cracked plastic pot on a wooden bench to be sold. It would have to stay here a little while before your elderly neighbor would plant it and nuture it to be the pride and joy of his garden, the rose's new home.
So, in response to this advice: the elderly neighbor hasn't planted me yet, but you're right: I have to grow. Only I'll be growing while homeless in my cracked plastic pot on a wooden bench waiting to be someday planted in my new home... waiting alongside other flowers (but not roses- I'm the only one named Rosie) just like me who I have come to love oh so very, very much.... Waiting is hard, but growing just happens. And how glad I am for it to happen in the company of my new best friends, a new special part of the definition of home.
Tonight was the night before move-out day. I spent in my cracked plastic pot called Keller Hall Room 106.
I didn't cry. I am not afraid.
I don't know when, but I know home is coming... and I know the other flowers in their cracked plastic pots on the plains will now and forever more be a very special part of it.
Freshman year happened.
Rosemary went to college.