January 2000

It was during the summer after eighth grade that I decided I didn’t like being in my house.  Beginning that summer, I tried to get out at least once a day in order to avoid being “lazy.”  I slowly stopped watching TV, playing video games, reading, and doing anything else that I thought made me idle.  A few years later, my friends and I got drivers’ licenses and suddenly I was never home.  My parents seemed hurt by the idea, but I didn’t understand why.  I was still a good girl, but a very active and preoccupied one.  I didn’t care what exactly I was doing, just as long as I wasn’t sitting in my house.

When I was at home, I was either on the phone, ocked in my room doing homework, or sleeping.  I felt like I had to be constantly out and active or else I would be wasting my life.  My peers would comment on how cool and easy to talk to my parents were, and I would wonder what they were talking about; I had barely spoken to my family in years.  My close friends had become my own family: I had a mom, a crazy sister, and a couple immature little brothers; they know who they are.  What I had failed to realize was that it would have been more efficient for my family to become my closest friends.

Over winter break, though, with most of my friends out of town, I was left no choice but to stay home once in a while.  I tried to lock myself in my room with the phone or my English project, but eventually I knew I would have to come out.  A few days before Christmas, I was walking down the stairs and heard carols being played throughout the house – the same tapes and CDs that I used to dance around my living room to when I was in elementary school, before I had decided that dancing around the living room was “uncool.”  I don’t know if it was the memories of those past Christmases, or just the holiday spirit in general, but suddenly I realized that I was glad I was in my house and with my family.  I grabbed my 11-year-old brother and taught him the box-step waltz.  My mom heard us laughing and put her dinner preparations on hold to come join us.  My dad got the camera.  I was amazed that my childish dancing had turned into such an event.  Suddenly I realized what the big deal was:

I was home.

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