Hey old friend,
Man. It's been a while. I just wanted to write to you and let you know that though I've ventured out into the world on my own and am much different from the last time you saw me, I am still very much the same. I also hope you know that while my feet my move, a part of me will always be with you.
No matter how many times I said I couldn't wait to leave you, I still loved you more than any other place on earth. You offered a sense of comfort, stability, and love that no other town could ever give me. No matter where I went or who I met, I knew you would always be waiting on me when I got back. You would still have that awesome gas station chicken I grabbed before practices. You would still have those sweet old women who would say to me, "Sweetie!!! It's been so long!! How's your momma?" And you would always be the host of my family reunions when I came back to town (which let's be honest, is basically Friday night football games with how small of a town you are).
I could never really express to you just how much you mean to me.
It was in your empty parking lots where I learned how to ride my bike and years later, how to drive my car. In your school system, I made my first real friends and found teachers who pushed me not only to be a better student, but a better person. It was at your park where I first learned that when I fall down, my dad will always be right there to pick me up again. I found Jesus at one of your churches up on the hill. I had my first heartbreak in your surburban streets and cried over it for the first time at one of your stop signs. It was at one of your football games where I learned that people can surprise you- for the better and for the worse. I had countless bonfires and pool parties in my friends' backyards under your summer sky. I made my best memories on your back roads with the radio up, windows down, surrounded by my closest friends.
Though to 99% of the population you're merely a pit stop exit on the interstate, you were and always will be much more to me.
I wouldn't be who I was if it wasn't for you. So, thank you. Thank you for all of the people, experiences, and memories you gave to me in those 18 years. You truly are where my heart is.