Oct 19, 2011

Coming Home

When I moved to Franklin County, I was shocked by the size of the school system. 2500 in the high school alone. The high school was the size of a small college campus with students everywhere. I learned more about the schools... 13 small elementary schools and then corralled to one middle school and one high school. All of the students in the ENTIRE county go to school together. I decided right then that it was not a good thing. The richest family at the lake goes to school with the poorest family on the wrong side of the tracks? How could this work? I took pride in the fact that I knew the names of everyone I graduated with and our biggest school rivals were in our county. I liked my way better.

Drew started at the middle school this year with 600 sixth graders. Only 40 of them went to his elementary school. I was so apprehensive. Then he began coming home with stories. "Hey Mom, remember that boy I met at church camp? He invited me to Fellowship of Christian Athletes today! Remember my church camp counselor? Well, he's the FCA leader. Remember that tall boy I played in soccer? He's in my math class. Remember Josh who moved away in 1st grade? I see him in gym! Remember that football coach? He's my gym teacher. Hey Mom, guess what? Dad built cabinets for my English teacher. Hey, I know that sophomore playing guitar at dad's concert, he rides my bus." All of a sudden, the size of the school system began to shrink.

One of Drew's favorite things to do on weekends now is go to the high school football games. Middle schoolers have a spot on the hill that they hang out, then they circle the stadium several times. Kinda like "cruising." This past weekend was Homecoming. It was perfect weather, we wore our wool jackets, found our friends on the bleachers, and wrapped up in blankets. I looked around and smiled.

So many things are different, but so many things are the same.

You peeeeer around the corner of the street. Are they coming? It's starting! Hey look, it's Jackson and Parker! Heey! We cup our hands over our mouth and shout. zing... they throw a football for Finn to catch.

Listen! I hear something! It's a chant... Gimme an e... E! Gimme an a... A! Drew whistles and wiggles his eyebrows at Nate and then through the pack we see another familiar face... Summer!

Here come the Senior Homecoming court! The tractor pulling the wagon honk honk honks and we all wave our arms around when we see Camden and Shawn in the cab. Look! It's Payton and Kelli doing the pageant wave. We laugh...

We arrive at the stadium and look across the sea of faces. As we get a little closer, we start to recognize faces... Drew's soccer coach, church family, Laurie and her friends, my bible study leader, Nate's coworkers, teachers. It feels like we know everyone around us.

The game begins and my heart beats to the taps of the marching band. Cow bells rattle and air horns blare. Mom's hide their eyes when their son gets tackled, Dad's proudly wear their boy's number. Little girls wear mini cheerleading outfits with matching bows. Sixth graders toss a football around. Second graders ask for a dollar to get popcorn and beg to do it alone. At halftime, the homecoming court is announced and they begin their walk at the 50 yard line. The girls are glowing with big smiles and high heels on. We see Caitlyn and cheer for her! We secretly hope that she gets crowned queen because we know she is an awesome light for Jesus!

The king and queen are announced and we cheer... and then we sigh, because it is just so cute that they won because they are a couple.

We snuggle in for the rest of game with our friends. I reach over and pinch Channing's rosy cheeks and Kevin laughs and says... Well, bringing Chan to the game gives a whole new meaning to "being under the blanket with my baby."

We head home and Drew and Jackson are giggling in the back seat and Finn has sleepy eyes. I look over at Nate and smile. I have a feeling I can't describe.... it feels like coming home.

The definition of hometown is the place where one currently resides or your birth place. I used to feel sad that I couldn't decide where my hometown was. Elida or Franklin County? I understand now that I don't have to pick. I am blessed to have two.


deborah said...

Home. Home is where your heart is. I understand the truth in this saying more and more each year. Darke County. Pratt County. They both have people I love. THAT makes them both home.

~Alisha~ said...

Well I wrote a comment the other day & evidently didn't hit the right button. I was just saying that this post kinda made me tear up a bit & how nice it is to have you here. We love ya Joni. :)

Lucille said...

Home...the best place to be!