She handed her the keys, took her face in both hands, and kissed her cheek.
"Welcome home," she said.
A truth was spoken.
Maryland is a great place to live. Though I have pretty much lived here all my life, my answer has always been the same when asked where I am from. "I'm from Maryland, but I probably won't live here forever."
All my life I have believed this and stated it with confidence. There is something romantic and beautiful about starting over, planting roots in a new place, building up a life that looks different from what you have known in the past.
This past year has brought increased opportunities (by design) for me to be away from Maryland. Just looking at the stats, I took to the air 28 times, rode 6 trains and 2 buses, took 4 road trips, visited 17 different cities, and traveled over 24,000 miles. Not bad for one year.
Something unexpected happened to me through the process of leaving so frequently, though. I began to love coming home. I developed routines and upon returning would sink into the arms of my home. Routines that became almost as rewarding as the travel itself.
With leaving comes the great joy of returning.
Maybe it's because my home has changed over the last year. Maybe it's because my idea of home has shifted. Maybe I'm just getting older and I allow routines to be a larger part of my life than I have in the past.
Building roots and creating a home that holds my heart feels right in this season of my life. I still don't know if I'll be in Baltimore forever. My home will physically and metaphorically change, I'm sure, as the years pass, but I am learning that my roots are here in Baltimore. I'm learning that even in my most restless moments I need a landing pad where the soil is settled and roots are securely planted.
Sometimes we have to leave all we know in order to learn how to come home.