Quite a few of those closest to me questioned my level of sanity when I announced that I’d be taking off for a long weekend in Charleston. With a five-week old infant in tow. By myself.
“It’ll be great,” I hoped out loud. “He’ll sleep the whole way.” (Famous last words.)
It really was great. And worth the frequent stops. All my besties are in Charleston, you see, and that undeniable female need for nothing-like-it time with girlfriends was borderline desperate.
Now, given that Sweet Pea went to Mississippi to spend the weekend with my family and Boss got to enjoy a weekend to himself playing golf and visiting friends in Atlanta and doing whatever it is that husbands do when their wives and children are away, I’d say the weekend was pleasurable for all. Our little family of four split up and we went our separate ways for a bit and the point of this post is not to talk about how fabulous Charleston was/is (because you know it was/is), but rather to say that coming home really was/is something special.
So I’ll leave out the many things that I love about the Holy City. I won’t mention that it was the final weekend of Spoleto or that I dined at my ultimate comfort-food spot or that Butterbean’s first sunset at Sullivan’s Island was nothing short of magical. I won’t carry on with the romance that exists in a place I once called home and now escape to, just ever so often. I will, however, briefly note that those once familiar curves and streets and shortcuts of Charleston are now not so familiar. (I had to ask directions to my girlfriend Carter’s house, a place I’d been many times before.) And even though I am known to sometimes whine about the absence of Charleston (and its people/culture/beaches) in my life, I acknowledge that it’s no longer my home, my horizon.
This morning I was driving along the Red Mountain Expressway, headed home from an early morning doctor’s appointment. I made my way through the familiar route that showcases St. Vincent’s and Sloss on my right, downtown to my left. A ripple of certainty swam through my body. I know where this road leads and where it’s coming from. I know the sidestreets, the traffic patterns, the very spot where my phone always loses reception and I drop calls. I know this road because it’s the one I’m traveling on. Here, in Birmingham. This is my home; this is where I come home to.
And this is the song that came to mind. Jones Valley ain’t the bayou or the lowcountry – not even close. It’s somewhere right in the middle…and here I am.