It’s always been interesting to me how much family means to us as we get older, as we grow to be more alone in a world where we discover family is really all we have. As a child, there aren’t many other people in your life to depend on than your mom and dad. Picking you up from school, taking you out for ice-cream, or even bearing the nonsense on a 12-hour drive to Orlando, Florida – they do all these things out of love. And as a child, I think we all love our families, although we truly have not even learned what love is yet at such a young age.
When I think of myself and my relationship with my family, I think of how although I am now an adult how much I depend on them. The time span between being 13 years old and 18 as I am now was a period of forgetting their importance in my life, unwilling to understand that at the end of the day I was who I am because each part of me was built on the backbone of my family.
So, with that said, it can be pretty difficult deciding to move 1,507 miles away from the people you’ve lived with your entire life. In my senior year of high school, I decided that I would be attending [School] to pursue my academic goals and personal goals in life of finding myself on the west coast. And once again, I was so focused on my own needs that I often forgot about how my family may be feeling. After long fights and endless nights of stress, wondering how everything would work out – it finally came around and I was off, a new person in a new place. But before I began my journey to the other side of the country 25 hours away, I received a special item that would come along on this journey with me.
Developing in my mother’s womb at the age of 36 was not just me, but also my twin brother who always seemed to take all my food. But eventually we were out and welcomed into the world, only three minutes separating us from one another. Naturally, when you have a twin, you end up spending most of your time with them as they look like you, talk like you, and of course you’re always in the same room with others around. I remember going to Universal Theme Park in Orlando, where the two of us were closer than ever – and whenever he seems distant I think of the days where all we had were each other to make the other laugh.
As we got older, I ended up not spending nearly as much time with him as I probably should have. It was the rare outcome that we weren’t alike at all, we didn’t have the same friend groups, and we ultimately didn’t even confuse people like we used to. Yet, he was still my womb partner, my brother. So to get back to the topic of moving across the country, this brings me to the owner of that womb – my mother, who had nurtured us her entire life, and who would now be losing us both. I would be going off to Arizona, and my twin brother would be going off to the marines to serve our country. He would be leaving only a week after me, so there wasn’t much time to say goodbye to the lives we had always known.
The night before I left, I arrived home at 2 A.M. after a night of saying goodbye to my best friends and the city I had never left before for longer than a few weeks. On my dresser laid a letter from my brother – the same one that continues to rest on my desk in my dorm room today. As I read the words from my brother, the declaration of “Sorry I wasn’t always there when you needed me to be,” along with the future phrases of, “But I love you, you’re my best friend,” I couldn’t help but allow the stream of tears to flow – it all became much more real. Hugging my twin goodbye the next morning, I slipped the letter in my backpack and held it close once again as I entered the sky. We would both be on our ways into very different lives, but 3 minutes nor many hours could separate the bond that we shared in our hearts.
This letter that was given to me is an important reminder of there being “no place like home,” because I can always read those words and take my mind back to where a part of me will always be – home.