From GA to TN: A Very Happy Fourth

My friend Katie Z. and I have coined the phrase "the homesick feeling," which is how we explain an almost-indescribable emotion we get in the pits of our stomachs when we know something isn't it right.

During my many moves, for example, there were times a house just didn't feel right. I'd be trying to explain it to Katie - describing the lack of windows, the weird smell or the tiny kitchen. Once I'd get to the point of almost giving up on why it "just wasn't right," she'd say, "Ohhh, the homesick feeling?" And I'd know she understood. 

Or, slightly more abstract, when we go out with a new group of friends, or on a date or on a trip, and things just aren't right. Something about it gives us a pit in our stomachs and we don't want to be there anymore: that's the homesick feeling. Too many things are different; nothing is comforting. 

But then there is the real kind of homesickness. The kind when I ache for my family to be piled in my parents' kitchen. Sitting on counters and floors and why isn't anyone using the chairs? The way our lives revolve around iced coffees and exercise and what we'll have for dinner (and nowadays nap times). 100 Willow, when every light would always be on and we'd sit outside on the porch, watching lightening bigs and listening to the crickets and the intermittent golfball dropping into the pool.

Lately I have been feeling this kind of homesick in an almost insatiable way. To the point that I texted my mom last week and said "I'm really homesick and just want to be with you guys." (Note: Courtney moved to Virginia, and my mom, dad and Sam went to help them get settled. That's alottaBibs in one spot without a Whitney.)

There is almost nothing more alarming to my mom than being told there is an emotion I am feeling that she cannot fix in any way. 

I've found, though, that sometimes when you can't be with your family, there is only one other way to begin to ease the homesick feeling: to be with someone else's family. You just need to be wrapped up in someone's traditions - to watch someone else joke with their brother as their dad jumps in on beer pong for the first time ever. 

And that's exactly what our Fourth of July looked like. 

It was the most makeshift year ever. With days upon days of rain sandwiching our Fourth, we didn't know what to do. Lake parties were cancelled. The Hooch was overflowing. The Braves were drenched. What does one do on the Fourth indoors?

Thursday, Mel and I threw an impromptu Fourth of July party, promising our friends snacks, fun and a slip n slide to combat the rain. We brought old and new friends together - playing games, pulling up chairs and providing food that was absolutely, 100 percent, red white and blue only. (Even popcorn covered in white chocolate, red sprinkles and a blue bowl. We weren't joking around, here.)

Friday, Melissa, Katherine and I woke up and headed to Kate's lake house in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, where her parents took us in like their own. We left Atlanta in the rain and entered Tennessee in the rain and realized it was just going to be a year where we fully embraced the rain. 

We ate so much. We paddle boarded and kayaked in the pouring rain, and even snuck in a little boat time. We slept well and embraced a digital detox where we only instagrammed just a little. 

We laughed so much that my already painfully sore abs saw no relief. And on Sunday when we dragged ourselves away from that sweet lake, Kate's mom said: you know, now that you've come for one Fourth of July, you're part of it. We expect you come back again. 

And I smiled, thinking that while there is absolutely no cure for homesickness, besides your own family, it certainly provides a bit of temporary relief to insert yourself into another one, even if just for a weekend.

Thank you, Kate, for having us! It was a wonderful Fourth! (: