On the hot and humid dirt roads, sun glaring down on your skin with the only intention to cook your flesh, I watched my family exit the “soccer-mom styled van” on a quest for peace and tranquility with the only true family my mother knows. A fourteen hour trip from home, a journey she begged my father for months ago, her eyes radiated happiness as her two daughters, her son-in-law, and her precious grandchildren followed behind. She intended for her family to experience the joy she longed for since the last time she came to her proverbial “Home” – Alabama.

Her voice indicating excitement but her hands shaking with anticipation, she hugs and greets every single relative and friend from years afar. This world seemed so much different from what I was used to. I had mixed feelings for the three days we stayed amongst our flesh and blood, part longing to have the simplicity and relaxation that so many of them were blessed to endure, and part of me feeling glad to have been spoiled and pampered with the technologically religious and fast paced city up-bringing I have come to enjoy for twenty-something years.

My sister and I bombarded my cousins and their friends’ everyday about the events and parties in the area, with no reward we found there was absolutely nothing to do within a 100 mile radius from everywhere we stood. Our cousins were content, however, finding solitude and entertainment in their conversations and their common interest in Earth’s gifts. I inquired about the local “Beauty Supply Store” for a refill of individual eyelash enhancements and hair weave, and was looked at as if I asked where the strip club was located. When I asked where the strip club was located, my uncles and cousins said the only strip club in town was wherever a chick took her clothes off where men could see and appreciate it. Lmao!

The trip was to celebrate my great-grandmother’s 102nd birthday, a woman I always felt was the epitome of what a Diva should be at all times. From the first sight of her, decked out in white and silver sequined garments, church hat cocked to the side, and flashing the pearly whites which I believe are still hers, I was amazed. A long life is a wish of so many, especially some who may not deserve it. However, my great-grandmother, Mama is what she requires to be called, deserves a long and healthy life more than anyone in the room and that is exactly what the Lord has blessed her with.

The trip was not without it’s drama of words spat and hurtful digs of animosity from years of no contact, no connection, and feelings of no love. I watched everyone in awe of how quickly they disintegrated the beef and jumped quickly back in love after chips had fallen off hurt shoulders, because like so many people kept saying…. Life is too short and love is too strong to keep hurt in your heart for too long. Everyone was so unlike my father’s side, I questioned why we were separated from them for so long and why we were left to learn false life lessons from someone else’s past.

I truly missed them, and if it weren’t for the heat, I would have desired to stay a little while longer. Emotions had hit me hard talking with aunts that I had admired and enjoyed, who now looked at me as if I was another person. Although I am very much a woman, grown from every angle (mind, body, and soul), their love and affection, their decency and hospitality had temporarily reverted back to a child. I had feelings of wanting to please my elders, seeking approval and affection. For not one second did I not receive the love that I was so accustomed to before we migrated from Queens, New York to Virginia. For that I thank them so much!

Our expedition brought us all together, even my sister and I who I had been somewhat estranged from since I was pregnant with my son. I learned to not stress over my plans and that God laughs at me when I do, to love my family hard, and to desire to live. I have a new appreciation for nature and the beautiful things around me, that I overlook regularly because of the walk around my aunts land, filled with flowers and plants, and two beautiful stallions. The simple life was never an aspiration of mine until I saw just how less stressed everyone seemed to be compared to how the six of us were before we crossed state lines.

I want to say thanks and I love you to my Aunt Linda and her husband Chester for bringing us into her beautiful home and accommodating us. I want to say I love you to Aunt Gloria, Aunt Shirley (Queen Yanna), Uncle Huddie, Uncle Leon, Uncle Roddie, Cousin Tony, Lo, and Jay, I love you to my cousin Toka and I hope you feel better – You still my boy, and especially I love you to my great-grandmother, Mama, you are truly an amazing woman, a divine soul, and I hope to inherit at least one of your beautiful church hats. Pretty Please with sugar on top!! J lol.

I can’t wait to see you all again.

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