It was all so foreign at first … the big sky, the miserable summers, the fields of bluebonnets. You weren’t so sure about this place.
But now you stand here in Texas, just four years later, and have never felt quite as at home as you do right now. You knew all along you weren’t meant to stay forever in the Lone Star State — that the military would be calling your family elsewhere someday — but you couldn’t help getting attached.
It was the place where both your babies were born.
The first home you shared with your husband.
The first place your lead foot felt welcome on the highways.
The first church that felt like a family.
In just a few years, you really got to know Texas; and it sure got to know you, too.
For instance, every Monday when you walked into the grocery store, the florist greeted you with a warm smile as she went to blow up a balloon for your 2-year-old son.
When you drove up to the donut shop window (probably more than you should have), the lady in the window already knew your order of one sausage and cheese kolache and one chocolate sprinkle donut. It was always the best donut you ever ate … perfectly plush with just the right amount of sweetness. Everything a donut should be. You always said you didn’t know what you’d do without those donuts one day, and now it’s time to figure that out … among many other things like finding a new doctor and dentist and hair lady and new friends.
And it wasn’t just Texas that you fell in love with. You fell in love with what your life became there and who you became there: a mother. You found your best self, the person you were always meant to be. This was the place where all the most wonderful memories in your life began … the stomping grounds where your son learned to walk, the playground of so many firsts. First swing, first slide, first boo-boo, first fire ant bites, first piggyback ride, first picnic. First friends.
You made some of the best friends you ever had here. They weren’t the childhood friends you were used to having who’d grown up beside you. Your friendships weren’t formed by the test of time, but rather the bonds that formed through all that you experienced in your short time together, like having babies and deployed husbands.
Even the “hiking” trails in Texas were perfect — flat just like you like them because you just don’t love climbing up massive hills, even if the view is pretty great. The cactus flowers and glittering creeks and short little trees were view enough for you.
The house where you lived on post always seemed to have something wrong with it, yet it was exactly what you needed at the time, and you didn’t really know it until you had to leave it.
You’ll especially miss your backyard where those long hot summer days took place. All the dripping popsicles, splashing in the blowup pool, lunch picnics, grilling chicken and burgers, the late-night fires, the movies on the lawn, and watching thunderstorms roll-in, bringing with them puddles and mud for your son to stomp in.
It’s hard to leave a place you loved … a place you felt you were meant to stay forever.
You learned to make Texas a home. You learned to love it. You learned to belong there. You feel like a Texan now. And while it’s hard to accept now, you know you’ll learn to love the next place, too.
And then, the next place after that.