|Photo: The Odyssey|
For several years, however, I've been trying to get my parents to move to my adopted state of Pennsylvania. After my mom got sick, we (my mom, my sister and I) convinced my dad that a move closer to my sister and me was a good idea. Last month, we outfitted his new place with the basics and last Wednesday, he made the move official. Though my mom's presence can be felt everywhere in the apartment, from the large, framed photo in his bedroom to the furniture and furnishings throughout, this is my dad's apartment.
I'm thrilled to have my dad close by; it's a lot easier to drop by for a visit or go out for a meal when he's only three miles away. Though we've talked practically every day for the past year and a half, I'm really excited to have him "just around the corner." He worries about asking too much of me; I'm glad he's here to ask.
Last Saturday, we went to my dad's place in New Jersey to get the remainder of his things and to clear out the basement. Although I thought a lot about how my dad might feel about leaving his home state behind, I didn't really give much consideration to how his move might make me feel, Jersey-wise. On Saturday night, as we drove away from the condo, car stuffed to the gills, we also drove away from my last direct connection to my home state. I still have family and friends in New Jersey, of course but with my parents no longer there, I can't imagine when I might visit again.
I'm still not sure how I feel about that. After all, you can take the girl out of Jersey, but you can't take the Jersey out of the girl. As I've said before, no matter how many years I live in Pennsylvania (closing in on forty now), New Jersey will always be home. It's not like it's that far away, of course, or that we can't plan a trip to the shore, but it feels strange knowing that spur-of-the moment trips "home" are now a thing of the past. Then again, I guess "home" is more than just a place. Anyone who knows me knows better than to question my love for the state I will always call home.
I just hope my dad's as happy in his new home as I always was in my home state.