Wednesday, April 15, 2015

One Thing Hasn't Changed

At what point do you consider yourself "from" somewhere?

If she were considering things beyond what she'll eat for dinner this evening and whether or not the forecasted rain will keep her inside during recess tomorrow, Hallie would consider herself from Texas. She has lived in the Lone Star State for more than two-thirds of her life, and remembers nothing from her first 20 months in Michigan.

Though Will called Ann Arbor home for four years, his memories of life there are abstract and hazy at best. He too would consider himself - loudly and proudly - from Texas. (And a future Aggie.)

Tom was born in Michigan, but lived in California and Wisconsin before finishing out his middle and high school years in Nebraska. After attending college and working for a few months in Iowa, he returned to Michigan for six more years before we moved to Texas. Though Tom has at one time or another called a number of states home, I have always considered him from Nebraska and regularly tell people as much. I recently learned, however, that he's rewriting this chapter of his story.

While in San Antonio for spring break the four of us enjoyed a Rio San Antonio River Walk Cruise. Midway through the 35-minute narrated ride, our driver/tour guide asked where all of us aboard were from. A few passengers called foreign countries home, and many more came from states other than Texas. When the driver/tour guide finally asked who was from Texas, Will, Hallie, and Tom's hands shot up in the air. Tom even added a little "woo hoo!" for good measure.

I rolled my eyes and reminded Tom that he was not, in fact, from Texas.

"Yes, I am", he responded. "I've lived here almost as long as I've lived anywhere else and Texas feels like home now, so yes, I'm from Texas."

I understand Tom's logic, and find peace in knowing that he feels connected to our community, city, and state. But I spent all 18 of my childhood years in only two houses in one city, in one state, and can't consider myself from Texas.

Wisconsin is where I was born and raised. Where I graduated from high school. Where I learned to swim and ride a bike and drive a car. Where I went on my first date and earned my first paycheck and made (as well as recovered from) my first colossal mistake. Where I became a Girl Scout and made the varsity soccer team. Where my childhood pets are buried, where my parents still live, and where my kids visit their grandparents. Wisconsin shaped, at least in part, how I think and what I believe.

I give thanks every day for the life - the opportunities, the friends, the security - I have in Texas and truly love living here. But I'm not from Texas.

I am, at least originally, from Wisconsin.
Enjoying Lake Mendota from the Union Terrace.
Lying on the lawn of the State Capitol.
Cheering for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Cheering for the Wisconsin (Bucky) Badgers.
Renewing my Wisconsin membership for another two years.
And proud of it.

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