Today the news broke publicly in my small hometown that my father was closing his medical practice. My parent's shared the news with all six of us children and our spouses over the Thanksgiving holiday. For those of you that do not know me that well this may not seem like anything too substantial. The other part of the story is that my parents are leaving the place we have all called home for the last 26 years to move to Austin, Texas.
This is a great opportunity for my father and I wouldn't want him to squander his dreams - yes, you can still dream over the age of 55 - just because his children want to come home to Atmore, Alabama whenever they like.
We moved to Atmore when I was nearly three years old and it really is the only place I have ever known. When I was first married and had moved away I would pick up my cell phone to call home and I would scroll through my numbers to the one named "home." I would then be very confused when my husband, not my mother would answer.
I still say I am "going home" whenever I speak of going out of town to visit my family. My church was there, all my friends growing up, my memories, I was married there. I always imagined bringing my children there.
You city folks wouldn't appreciate it's quaint atmosphere. There is not realy a hustle and bustle and when there is traffic that means it will take you ten minutes to get somewhere instead of five.
We still have many dear friends there and our family is known throughout the community. It is hard to think that one day we won't have a role in that little community, that we will be forgotten and that people will move on.
The hardest part for me isn't just losing the place I grew up, but losing a close proximity to my parents. My mother and I are exceptionally close and for her to be so far away will be really hard. I talk to her daily and I always know that if I need to see her or her see me we are only an afternoon's drive away. Now she will be a good 14-16 hours away. It is hard to imagine my parents not being as much a part of our lives and our visits will be much more challenging to accomplish because of the distance and the finances to get there.
This is a positive thing for my parents and while I worry about my mother adjusting - you know how us ladies are about where we raise our babies - they get another chance at starting a new life for themselves and following their passions and dreams.
So, here is to Atmore, Alabama, and all the wonderful memories it has given me. Thanks for always being home - you always will be.