My Old Kentucky Home

Life in Georgia is good.  The winters are warm, the people are nice, and I live in a safe community with decent schools.  I have a husband who loves me even when I don’t deserve it, smart beautiful children, and maybe the best in-laws in the history of existence.

Easter 2011. They're not frowning, just squinting because of the sun.

I also attend a wonderful church, which has been a great blessing.   I have always felt loved and accepted, even when I was new and too shy to talk to anyone. I think when I finally started talking, they were shocked.  I can talk the hind legs off a donkey, as the saying goes, and that comes as a great surprise coming from someone who has barely said a word for two years.  Once the conversation started, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with these very special people.  I’ve learned from their humor, insight, and even their pain.  They love my children and spoil them rotten.  They are my Georgia Family–grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and my dear friends.  I love them, absolutely and without exception.

But I miss my Kentucky family.  My flesh and blood family.

I miss my 83-year-old, slightly ditzy grandma. The crazy old lady that used to get my notoriously late-sleeping brother out of bed with cold water or by dragging him out of bed by his feet.  The woman who cannot sit still and let an empty trashcan sit on the curb longer than 2 minutes after the garbage is collected or a coffee cup sit on a counter for longer than 10 seconds before she’s putting it in the dishwasher, whether you’re finished with it or not.  The girl who didn’t date boys who didn’t have the ration points for gas and had no qualms about hitching a ride with a truckload of sailors on leave.  My grandma, who is the most forgiving and faithful woman in the world and who taught me what it means to be a true Christian woman.  Time is running short and I’m terrified I may not see her again.

I miss my aunts and uncles.  The aunt that, when it snowed, would smear my red lips, nose, and cheeks with chapstick if I came within arm’s reach.  The same aunt who took pictures of my baby hiney because she thought nothing was more precious than an infant’s chubby behind and she was right.  My other aunt who made saying the sentence, “I don’t like spiders” a reason to burst out laughing.  The uncle who respects his mother’s opinion so much, he has hidden his smoking habit from her his entire life.  The other uncle who loves cooking shows, turtle soup, and above all, his nieces and nephews and all their children.  The aunts I haven’t seen in years and the uncle I’ll never see again.

I miss my cousins.  Growing up, I lived two doors down from 3 of my cousins.  One who ate onions like apples .  Another who I always think of with a swirly even though he’s a military father of four beautiful daughters and a long anticipated son.  And the one who chopped off the baby curls it took me two years to grow, who let me watch movies with him, and basically tail along behind him for most of my early childhood.  The other cousin who loaned me his purple Skidz because I loved them so much, who always made me laugh, and who is now battling a chronic and debilitating disease.  His brother, the clown, who loved mashed potatoes more than any kid I’ve ever seen.  And all the others who share the same precious memories of loud chaotic family get-togethers and summer days spent in an apple orchard, a car port, at the creek, or in a gully.

I miss my nuclear family–the original four.  My mom, who doesn’t take crap from anybody, who sings like an angel, and who can do absolutely anything she sets her mind to.  My dad, the foodie and workaholic, who kicks butt on Jeopardy and who loves it when a plan comes together.  I even miss my brother, the spoiled brat who never had to do any housework, who is too smart for his own good, and who, without fail, has a smart-alec remark for everything.  I miss his beautiful children and it breaks my heart that our kids are missing out on the shared memories of cousins.  The memories that bind a family together, reminding us of what’s important, even when times are hard.  The memories that keep those who are gone alive and present in our lives.  The memories that make us who we are.

Finally, I miss my best friend, who is also my cousin.  My soul mate.  We are different in a lot of ways, but none that matter.  We share the same insecurities and struggles, we know exactly what the other is thinking, we complete each other’s sentences, and we share the same memories.  We know why the word, “hunkered,” is the funniest word in the English language.  We know that it is possible and so easy to laugh so hard that it hurts and makes breathing impossible.  We know that it’s important to put enough distance between two people when walking down stairs so that their heads won’t knock together.  We know that the best gift in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is two turtle doves.  We know that two girls traveling in the back seat of a car leave behind a lot of stray hairs.  We know that body suits are the most sentimental and grown-up articles of clothing. We know that it is ridiculous to think a man’s arms are sexy. We know that people who actually go to school every single day in their senior year of high school are chumps.  We know that it is an excellent idea to ride around in a van full of boys you barely know. We know you should never say in front of a little brother what you don’t want broadcasted to a visiting friend.  We also know that sometimes we will get on each other’s nerves and say or do something incredibly insensitive but that it doesn’t matter because we will always forgive each other.  Together, we know everything.  We are kindred spirits, bosom friends, partners in crime, two of a kind.

Best Friends in Gatlinburg, Tennessee a million years ago.

I have been missing my family so badly for the last couple of weeks. Visits home are rare and so short, it’s impossible to see all the people I want to see.  I desperately want to spend a couple of weeks at home to see old friends, visit old haunts, and just be in the place where I grew up.  I want to be where everybody knows everything about me.  I want to see hills again.  I want to sleep in my old bedroom in the log house.  I want my old Kentucky home.

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35 thoughts on “My Old Kentucky Home

  1. ok. you made me cry at work. i’ll comment later when i’m not boo hooing with my office door closed. i will say that your timing is impeccable because i had a rough night last night and was missing you SO much. sure, we could talk for hours on the phone or the internet but is not the same. i just recieved this momfog post update and i’ve already read it 3 times. it makes me so sad that you arent here but it also made me laugh at some memories i hadnt thought of in many years. a man’s arms? that woman is crazy LOL…and bumping heads on the stairway..wow. we need to write down some of these fun times so we can share with our own children –who will not laugh and call us dorks . love & miss you so much!!!!

    • I was crying while I was writing it. I had a hard time picking which memories to include. We’ve had so many great ones! And our own children will most definitely laugh and call us dorks. 🙂

  2. Great post. It is amazing that when we are young, we can’t wait to grow up and get away from our “annoying” family. Then we grow up, and realize how much we owe to them. You sound like you have a wonderful family, and I am sure they value you as much as you value them.

    God Bless…

    • It is completely unfair that we can’t appreciate something when it’s happening and are forever doomed to either looking backwards or too far ahead. God bless you, too!

  3. I’m feeling for you. Do you think your family members in Kentucky would be interested in partciplating in creating a family blog with you? It might be a good way to share not only memories but also what’s going on in their lives currently. Just a thought …

  4. Erin, that is a very nice post and from the heart, and as you said, it must have been hard to write it as the memory’s flood back. My father used to do the same thing to me and my 2 brother’s get us out of bed with cold water over our face’s.
    In Northern Ireland we can travel to any part in 2 hour’s, so if you live away it’s no problem.
    It must be hard when the family live hundred’s of mile’s away.
    My brother live’s in Canada and it’s a 2 day drive to see his son and his wife or they can get a plane.
    I don’t want to say any more, but keep the chin up, you have a lovely family and husband.

    • Thank you for the encouragement. This country is huge but our distance is only 2 states away–a 12 hour drive. Some families live on opposite coasts. Planes are a wonderful option, but can you imagine what it would cost to fly 7 people round trip? Yikes.

  5. Wow. I really identify with this post. I don’t have family anywhere near me and I wish I did. I would so love to move closer to them, not only for my sake, but also for my kids. Hope you get to take a visit home soon!
    -FringeGirl

    • At least I have my memories. What the kids are missing is what really gets me. Some of my best memories are times with my cousins and they just aren’t experiencing that at all! It’s a shame.

  6. I understand how you feel. I come from a very small family in upstate New York and I moved here to south Texas almost 18 years ago. I have a brother, sister, cousin, and a 90-year-old uncle there still, while the other three cousins have moved away. I don’t get back very often but I was able to go back last Thanksgiving for a week and it was wonderful. I didn’t realize how much I missed my family. My daughter lives here but she is busy with her family. I miss my nieces and nephews, some of whom have also moved away. I just want you to know that you aren’t the only person who misses your family so much. My mother’s family was from Virginia and each summer we took the last week in August to go visit her large family. I know now how much she missed her family, too.

    • It’s hard but I know I’m not the only one experiencing it. We are so busy most days, it doesn’t occur to me to miss them. Inevitably, it catches up with me. At least my parents make 2 or 3 visits a year. It’s not the whole family, but it’s always a nice visit.

      Thanks for the support.

  7. Lump in the throat bobbing up and down . . . short-term wise, do you have Skype?

    It is amazing how sometimes we are playing in the pool of memories, treading water, coping fine when out of nowhere we crash up on some rocks and it hurts!

    Five gorgeous sprogs in the photo!

    • That is a great analogy. We don’t Skype but I think it’s high time I go get a webcam and set it up.

      They are beautiful children, if I do say so myself. Who knew that two average looking people could make such pretty babies?

  8. Such wonderful memories. Its nice that you are surrounded by love both now and in your childhood. I have often wondered about your avatar pic because it makes you look very similar to me in a sisterly way. But the big photo looks different from the avatar. I still think you look like me though.

    I traveled around too much to ever have the kind of wonderfull memories you shared here. They sound wonderfull. 12 hours? Are you sure? I think you could do it in 41/2. Leave on friday night and come back sunday morning. No? But then having kids in tow would change the times, Im sure. Everyone would need to be packed and have a dozen bathroom breaks. But stll. If you drive in the night they will sleep through the trip.

    • On a straight drive-thru with minimal bathroom breaks and eating in the car, it takes 11. I would have to do it myself as my husband doesn’t have the vacation time, which is fine, but not ideal since it’s such a looong trip. The problem is the gas cost. I drive a Ford Expedition to fit everybody in, and the fuel for such a trip would be expensive.

      They are wonderful memories. I’m sure you have your own different wonderful memories. Oh, the big photo was taken at least 10 years ago so my gravatar is a better comparison.

    • It is hard. I only lived in two different houses when I was a child. Both were close to my extended family. I was very lucky but it makes it more difficult as an adult to be away from them.

  9. You’re very blessed to have people to miss, and ones that miss you. I hope you get a chance for a long visit home soon 😉 Sounds like a great bunch of people in your life!

      • Funny though – I no longer thing of New Zealand as my home – it is where I grew up, but Australia is my home. I guess it works the way it does for you for most people, perhaps not all. 🙂

        • I’m sure people have different ways of looking at it. I imagine if childhood was hard, the idea of home is completely different. I have also known people who move to a place and it just “clicks.” Nowhere else can ever compare.

  10. What is with all this crying? Crap. I’m at work too! This is such a well-written post. Seriously, so very well done. I miss my fam too. I grew up in Indiana, and my mom and sis are still there; my dad is in KY. You’ve really got me thinking about family tonight. Keep up the excellent writing!

    • Well, that was nice of you to say. I’m sorry you cried but I’m glad you’re thinking about family. It’s a good thing, even if it hurts a little.

  11. Erin you are an amazing writer! We miss you too. Grandma misses you and updates me on everything you are up to and your family. I’ll read this post to her, she will be thrilled. Happy tears are bound to happen. Love you:)

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