The small hours of the morning are my safety net. It’s the time of the day when my thoughts are all my own. I’m not forced to listen to anything I don’t want to hear. Even my three month old is still on my chest.
Today, I am dreaming about renovations. There are so many things I want to do to our home. I catch myself dreaming of them often. My kitchen is the thing that I wish to change the most. By all descriptions, it’s a large kitchen. That’s because the kitchen also includes an office area and a wall with built in cabinets and drawers. It’s dated, of course. It has dark cabinets. It has older appliances. The counter tops are cracked in places. Oh yes, in my mind, I’m giving my kitchen a giant kick in it’s 29 year old face. Yes, my house is as old as me.
At 4:00 a.m., I am dreaming of all white walls. I want dark gray laminate flooring to replace the awful tile patterned linoleum mess that is there now. I want all the appliances replaced. I want a large, white, porcelain farmhouse sink. I dream of painting all the cabinets a light gray. I want to take out the cabinets above the waist around the sink and appliances. I want open shelving where everything is exposed. I want to take the cabinets out in the area where we have our bar set up. That area will be converted into a eat-in area. I want seating for our table to be built into the wall. The backsplash will have white subway tile covering it. Did I mention the butcher block counter tops? I want a coffee bar and a place for a small television on the wall.
I love this open shelving.
My dream kitchen includes rustic lights.
Built in seating is a must.
We can’t forget the butcher block counter tops and (a lighter color) of gray cabinets.
In my mind, this isn’t just a kitchen. This is the place where my family will bake cookies for Santa. It’s where I will sip coffee with my mom when she visits. It’s where I can sit in the corner and make lists for the grocery store or write bills at midnight. It’s a gathering place for my family. A place where I can open the blinds and we can watch the foals graze while we enjoy our pancakes on Saturday morning. While it may sound boring to most, this kitchen will breathe life into our old house. Come on, who doesn’t need a little sprucing up after almost 30 years? I do, and so does my kitchen.
Yes, these are the things I dream about at 4:00 a.m. Right now, any extra money I save goes towards Christmas. It’s only seven weeks away. Eeek! But, I am making plans to make this kitchen happen. Until that day comes, 4:00 a.m. is a time for dreaming with my eyes wide open.
Next month marks the fifth year I have lived in Texas. I never regret my choice to follow the man that I love to this great state. I love everything about the south. I love the weather. I love the friendliness of people, even the ones who are complete strangers. I love how people down here talk slower. I love how Sunday is the day of The Lord…no exceptions. Friday night means high school football and Saturday means college football. I love that family comes first, NO MATTER WHAT. I love that cowboy boots go with anything. I love that you can find a heart warming, home cooked meal at the diner down the road. I love that there is never an awkward silence anytime you have a conversation. Oh…and everyone, men included, love to see and talk to the babies you have in tow. No ma’am and yes sir are the first things your child learns to say. I can honestly say that this is, without a doubt, the most amazing place in the world. Five years ago, a man from Texas stole my heart. I fell in love with him. I fell in love with this great state. I am proud to call it home.
Now, with all that being said, I do miss my family in Ohio. It hurts my heart that I can’t drive over to see my sister and my niece anytime that I want. It pains my heart that my dad only gets to see his grandsons two or three times a year. It worries me that my grandmother will be 85 in two months. Every time I talk to her on the phone, I hear in her voice how badly she wants to see my kids. I have all these emotions fighting me on the inside. It makes my heart pang.
I have made my fair amount of trips to Ohio the last four and a half years. I just find myself thinking of the holidays as they approach. I love my family here in Texas. They have always made me feel 110% welcome. We have amazing family gatherings here and I am thankful for all the loving family I gained through marriage. Now that we have kids, it’s hard to want to be anywhere but our own home for Christmas. I still find myself dreaming of Ohio. There is nothing like Ohio in the fall. The crisp, cool weather that comes with September and October is one tall tell sign that football season has arrived. It means fall festivals. It means piles of leaves lining the sides of the streets. It means hot coffee or hot apple cider. Fall holds a very sentimental place in my heart. I find myself feeling nostalgic about all things fall. I have fond memories of Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother’s or my dad’s brother’s house. I miss all the warmth and genuine happiness that comes from wrapping my arms around my dad’s sister or my awesome cousins. I miss sitting with my grandmother and sipping coffee on a Saturday morning. I miss the cackle of a laugh that belongs to my mother’s youngest sister. I miss all the same jokes and jabs I have been hearing for some twenty odd years. I miss the unmistakable smell of my sister’s hair or is it her body lotion? It’s a sweet smell. Not overwhelming, but just noticeable enough that when I hug her, my nose tingles for a few short seconds with the invasion of the long lost scent.
As I lay here writing these things, I feel an empty pit in my stomach. My grandmother has sold her house. It’s strange to think that we will never share a family Thanksgiving while sitting at her large red cherry dining room table again. I won’t drive back to her house and pass two of the houses I lived in while growing up just up the street. With her moving, I would really have no reason to go back to that neighborhood again.
These are all the thoughts that run through my head at any given moment when I think of Ohio.
I know it’s not economical to travel back there as often as I would like. I know that in my head. I also know that I made the choice to move away. I just have a hard time explaining the economics to my heart, especially this time of the year. So, if you see my eyes get glazed over at the mention of Thanksgiving, or if you hear me talk about Ohio a little more during the fall months, I hope you can understand where I am coming from. Although I do miss the fall weather, it’s not Ohio I miss. It’s my family that still lives there.