"So, when are you coming home?"
I hear the voice of my almost 12 year old sister ask on the other end of the phone.
I try to sound positive as I realize I don't know the answer to her question,
"Well I can't this weekend, but soon I hope!"
"Okay..." her disappointed voice returns.
Later, I hear my Mom come on the phone.
"Your sister asks when you are coming home almost every day."
Rewind: April 15, Friday afternoon
I'm wrapping up things in my room after class, getting ready to go home. I have been looking forward to this day all week. My phone rings, and I hear our Emergency Notification System on the other end of the line. Normally, a tornado warning means spending about 30 minutes in the basement of my dorm, and returning to my room safe and sound. This day, after returning to my room, I received another call to return to the basement. This phone call repeated itself throughout the day, resulting in about 7 hours of "basement bonding time." I finally gave up as I realized going home would mean traveling with the storm system, and called my family to tell them I would not be coming home after all. I looked at my calendar, trying to figure out the last time I had actually been home. Spring Break, 4 weeks ago.
Fast Forward, April 23, Saturday morning
I hear the music to one of my favorite make - me - smile bands, Alvin and the Chipmunks, come on full blast through the stereo, and open my eyes just in time to see my little sister run around the corner to hide. After feeling the walls shake and hearing a few giggles, my sister runs into my room. "HI!" She says with a big smile on her face.
While 5 weeks may not seem a long time to be away from home, it is also a far cry from my typical every other weekend visit. Between Ambassadors, Music events, homework, and other campus commitments I have made this year, it has gotten harder to find a free weekend. Someone once told me, "Brittany, it's not the people leaving that struggle; it's the ones who are left behind that have the hardest time. There is one less person involved in the routine, one less person to see every day, and one less voice in the house.
It is the ones left behind that feel the biggest change.
Freshman year, my college experience involved developing my independence and learning to live away from home.
This year, I am learning how to hold on to my ties and remain close to my family while receiving my education over 2 hours away.
I am so thankful to have a family that understands the changes I have to go through to become the woman God intended for me to become.
If you're reading this as an incoming freshman, I understand the desire to be independent, make your own choices, and "live your own life." I encourage you not to forget the ones you are leaving behind. Make time to maintain and strengthen relationships with your family - I can assure you, they will appreciate it and you won't regret it.
This weekend, I am enjoying my weekend at home while celebrating Easter, as well as celebrating birthdays for 2 of my 3 siblings. Even if I don't finish all of my take-home finals, it'll be okay.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to show my little sister how to make lemonade. =)
"The love of a family is life's greatest blessing"