April Love, Day 2 – Home

Dear Illinois,

You are not where I was born. You are not even where I grew up. And yet, you are home. You are where I have made my home. I met my husband here. I became a mother here. It is here that I have fought the personal battles which have given my soul definition. On this Midwestern soil, I gained my edge.

I’ll admit, I haven’t always thought of you as home. Texas and Oklahoma still feel very much like home to me. My roots began there. However, as time gets on, I learn to appreciate you more and more. I love your rolling pastureland. I love the way Lake Michigan stretches far into the horizon, almost giving one the impression of being at the sea. I love the way you slowly transition from one season to the next, teasing them out in a way that makes me appreciate each one differently. It is so unlike the South, where Spring and Fall last approximately 48 hours each. I love the people here. Kindly Midwesterners remind me very much of kindly Southerners, and I feel right at home. I love your natural beauty. Big skies, vast farmland, rolling meadows, and big rivers which open into fertile river valleys. You are undeniably beautiful. I love the snow. I harbor none of the bitterness of one who was raised here. Every snowfall (even the ones in April, like we had on and off all day today), brings a sense of wonder. Each time I am so grateful for your beauty, for being able to live in such a lovely, friendly place.

With that increasing gratitude, has come an increasing sense of ownership. After 12 years of living here, I am finally ready to claim you as home.

There’s no place like home.

Kelly

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