My friendwhomihaveknownforwaytoolongtonotcallhersister Becky came over early (okay, it was like 11) today. We painted our nails, talked about boys, hopped in a car and drove down the highway listening to country music. We ate at a Texas original restaurant and shopped til we couldn’t anymore. Then we got back in the car, talked about boys a little more, made onnnnnnnne little stop at Nordstrom, and then the sun set.

After a mildly frustrating arrival at home, I decided to go to Target. A song came on a mix cd I found that I hadn’t heard since high school during the drive. It reminded me of a much simpler time and a person who I feel like I sometimes lose sight of. It made me miss getting in trouble with Mackenzie. It brought back the very distinct sound of laughter that follows hours of scarf jump-roping. In that moment, I became hyper aware of who I am today. The problem – in my opinion – with my society is that we can be anyone we want on social media. We can support a cause without giving them a single penny or second of our time, we can criticize government and injustice without getting out of bed, and we can boost our own ego sitting alone in a coffee shop. I’m guilty of it, too. And honestly, this wasn’t the point I wanted to make. What I’m really trying to say – or ask, rather – is who the hell are you, anyway?

The one thing I can always remember my dad telling me growing up was to never act like I’m better than where I came from. Any of my friends here in Nashville will tell you that I LOVE my hometown. And love it, I do. But more than a city, I loved who I was there. I was bare feet running through my neighborhood. I was jeans and a tshirt for as far back as I can remember. I was the sound of loud (go figure) laughter with a friend into the wee hours of the morning. I was the middle child of a middle class family whose love was never not shown.

I believe that, in leaving home, you have to branch out of your original story. You add chapters and new characters come into the picture. But, I never want to forget the worst trouble I ever got into throwing a party with Mackenzie. I can’t imagine not sitting in Anessa’s bedroom telling her bedtime stories. I don’t know who I’d be without Sarah, or Marci, or Mallory. I never want there to be a time when my heart doesn’t explode with joy at the sound of my dad’s laugh or hearing my mom sing. And for that reason, I am so glad that I get to have a little piece of home here in Becky. Having someone who knows not only who I am, but who I’ve been and who I always will be, is the most comforting thing. I love her here for those times when a single look says a million words that only someone you’ve known since you were seven could understand.

Little sister, I am grateful for you more than you know. I am so proud to see you fully come into your own. I love getting to share this adventure with you. And I had the best day with you today.