There’s something about coming home to Colorado. Maybe it’s the way the mountains shade a stark, black contrast to a pale blue stripe of sky as the sun sinks into the west. Maybe it’s knowing every curve of the road up to my parent’s house, or the view from the deck as the lights of Colorado Springs twinkle. Maybe it’s my favorite restaurants, the ability to see my family, or just the fact that I know I’m home. Whatever it is, despite the 6,000 foot plus elevation and lack of real oxygen, I breathe easier here.
This is home.
We left here because we didn’t really have an option five years ago. It was either transfer to 4ID, move with 3ACR to Texas, or find another alternative. We chose Germany, and though I miss living here, it’s been a great decision. We’ve grown closer as a couple because we live so far away from family. We’ve learned to lean on each other, depend on each other, and stand on our own. We’ve developed our own traditions as a little unit, our own schedules, our own little way of doing things. As much as I hate PCS’ing, we grow stronger with every move, every home we make. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love coming home to Colorado. If anything, moving away has made me appreciate being here more. It also has given us a goal: as soon as we can beg for orders, or Jason retires from this shenanary known as the military, we’re retiring here. Home.
This place is where I grew up once my parents retired. It’s where I went to elementary school, Jr. High, and graduated High School. This place holds a ton of memories that greet me like the old friends who still live here the moment my feet hit Colorado soil. It’s an odd feeling to be homesick when I’m home, but all I can think when I’m here is that I really don’t want to leave. Sometimes, I feel a little selfish because it’s my home, with my family. But then Jason reminds me, it’s our home, not just mine.
Half of the years that I lived in Colorado, I was with Jason. This is where we met. This is where we dated, fell madly in love, married and started our family. As we drive around here, I see a thousand memories of him, of us. The place he first took me out on a date. Where we were married. Our first apartment, and the house we brought our first sons home to. I see the airport, and I remember flying into his arms when he came home wounded, so thankful. Almost every restaurant I see has a memory of Jason and I. So yes, this place really does belong to the both of us.
I know it takes me a few weeks to settle back in once I get home from vacation here. A little bit of time to remember that it’s an honorable life we lead, even though we get very little say in any of it. But just like when we left five years ago, I know that nothing has changed: I’ll still follow this man to the ends of the Earth. Colorado may be my physical home, and it may be where we choose to retire and enter the world of “normalcy,” but my real home is wherever Jason is. Our real home is Germany, Alabama, New York, or Colorado. Our real home is wherever there are Jason’s boots in my entry-hall, pictures of our kids on the wall, and the noise that only four boys can bring. Being an army family means that we move, we unpack, and we make a home wherever we go. That is an amazing skill that the army has helped us to develop, and though I resent the hell out of it at times, I am also so thankful that it has taught me that it’s not the place that matters, it’s the people.
So I’ll leave Colorado, and I’ll head back “home” to New York. No, it’s not the same. There’s no awesome breakfast burrito joints just down the street, there’s none of my favorite restaurants, no Broadmoor, no mountains, and my mom, my dad, my sister, my niece and nephews aren’t there. But that’s okay. What do I have? Jason. Aaron. Aidan. Chase. Brody. A sisterhood of friends that I have built and I cherish. At the end of the day, that’s where my home is, wherever they are.
So here’s to New York, to my house, my family, and even the snow. For now, you will be my home. I will give you my address, my car registration, my home phone number, and a piece of my heart. But don’t think you’re getting your grubby little hands on my Colorado drivers license. Some things are simply not up for negotiation. So long, Colorado, rest up for a few more years, you’ll need it to deal with the Yarros tribe once we make our way back.