Going Home

Going home, to where I grew up, in Modesto, is always a little strange. My mom still lives in the house we grew up in, with my two sisters and her long-time boyfriend. But it's not really my house anymore, they've made changes, a lot of his belongings are there (as they should be), and the pets are no longer the ones from my childhood. I also don't expect people or things to stay the same, so it's absolutely okay. 

Modesto is also the place that I wanted to get away from, which I did by going to UCLA out of high school (my mom gently suggested community college would be just fine if my financial aid didn't work out and I cried). It represents some tough times growing up, like everything leading up to my dad's death, my family's constant financial struggles, and not being properly introduced to a hair straightener. But, my family is there, so I try to make the trek back once a year, which is a really good thing for me. The Central Valley is so different than Southern California- people work harder physically, they care less about highlights (raises hand in guilty admission), and they still haven't quite recovered from the recession. There's a lot of poverty- over half of most counties up there rely on governmental medical assistance and areas that used to be seen as safe maybe aren't as much so now. But there are huge green fields, vineyards, dairies with thousands of cows, and orchards aplenty. 

It's complicated and it's simple, and it really is home. 

So last weekend I took Sawyer for three nights and we watched the annual American Graffiti Parade to commemorate George Lucas' movie, stopped by the car show, visited a few parks, ate at some of my old favorite places, and hung out with my family. Sawyer fell in love with my mom's cat and he entertained everyone with his crazy three-year-old antics. It is definitely exhausting driving the 369 miles alone with a kid, but luckily he and I both slept better in hotel beds than we have in weeks. 

I'm not in a rush to go back, for now, but I do wish my family all lived closer.

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