Two weeks ago, I visited my family for the first time in over two years. The best news from home is that my sister is having her fourth child and it’s a boy. I can’t wait to meet him! To celebrate, my family asked me to take some photographs at the beach! Congratulations to my sister and the best bro-in-law in the world, Matthew Powers.
Being home for five days was too fast. I want to, however, share a few thoughts with my family and friends. I’ll also include the rest of the pictures from the photoshoot below.
To my family,
Five days was too short. Seeing your beautiful faces, laughing at our bad jokes, and getting under dad’s skin was all too short of a process. When you live away from home for so long, you cherish what you left behind, but you tend to forget how differently the Earth seemed to move from your old vantage points. Being back home was like riding a bike, but it was different. It was like riding a bike backwards. Everything feels safe, comfortable, and right. Unfortunately, there is this sinking pit in your stomach. You know, what feels so right is no longer real. It’s no longer your real life and this beautiful vacation – this beautiful chance to be around the few people who unconditionally love you – is coming to an end.
There is a girl I’m talking to in Korea. She told me that Korean men are not supposed to cry. They are supposed to be strong. Well. . . I’m not Korean. I can’t be anything but myself. I can’t help but let tears fall at this coffee shop as I write this. I love all of you so much. It’s baffling to me because I’m such an introvert that I didn’t know how to show you my love while I was home. I don’t know how to say or express how I feel. Life can be so frustrating. We release the emotions and words we don’t want to share, but we keep so much of what we want to share bottled up in our hearts and heads.
I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my home. I’ll always miss Halo and I’m so glad I got to see her before we let her go. I feel your pain and loss, yet I share your excitement for the grandkids and baby #4. I’m not there – I am here. But I promise, I’m with all of you. I think of all of you constantly, even if my time with you on Skype doesn’t reflect it.
To Nicole and Matt,
Congratulations on making another baby. I miss you so much. You are above all things, best friends to me. I miss visiting, laughing and spending time with you. There are so many things about your life that I want to imitate. Matt, I hope I can be half the husband you are to Nicole. Next time, I hope we can just hang like we used to. I miss you speaking into my life. Very few people know how to encourage and love family the way you do. Nicole, I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy the traffic jam. I just had so little time. Please know that I treasure you, and you are my only big sister. There is no one else in the world like you, and there is certainly no one else who loves me and speaks to me the way you do. You have always been amazing–
I’m so excited I get to be your friend for the rest of my life. I learn so much from you and you mean the world to me. Everything that I’ve seen that is good in life is encompassed in who you are. I can’t believe how cool you are, and I still don’t understand why you love me so much. Don’t tell anyone this, but I think my favorite part of being home was taking pictures of dead fish with you. By the way, I figured out that problem with my flash 🙂 I’ve introduced you to kakao and we are the only family members on twitter! It’s so easy for us to stay in touch now! Call me any time you want – nothing makes me happier than hearing your voice.
To Mom, Dad and T-bone,
Thank you for letting me stay with you. Mom, I gained about ten pounds when I was back home. I also ate most of the key lime pie. It’s so goooood! On a serious note, leaving you at the airport broke me. It was about the most difficult thing I’ve done in my entire life. I want to let you know this – even though you stood there till the end waiting for me to go through security, just to look at your son as long as you could, I looked back even longer. After fully checking through I came back to see your face one more time and you were gone 🙁 I’m not saying this to make you sad, but because I want to let you know that I miss my mom. I’m so lucky to have you. Dad, it’s great to see you. You are a pretty intense guy. But, so am I. I see why we used to butt heads so much. We are two, stubborn men. I love you and you know how much I admire you. But please, buy some new shorts! 😉
To Rebekah, Kaden, and Mikah,
Whoa, you are some good looking kids. I loved spending time with all of you. Rebekah, I wear the handcuff necklace you bought me with your points at Lattitude all the time. It’s my favorite accessory. I miss talking you and hearing your stories. Kaden, you are one interesting little dude. I love how you break it down for all of us and I can’t wait to see how you continue to grow. Mikah, I didn’t really know you that well when I left. It was sooooo great to meet you. You make me laugh so much and I can’t wait to spend more time with you in the future.
To Jesse, Elizabeth, Glenn, Justin, Charlotte and Dohel,
Thanks for being awesome friends who remembered me after being gone for almost three years. As you get older, you realized you are blessed if you have a handful of true friends. I’m blessed, and I hope to see all of you soon.
To the skinny people left of the class of 2001,
Thanks for the most fun night I had back home. Thursday nights in Jacksonville are still kind of dead downtown, but we had an epic night anyways. I hope we get to do it again real soon. All of you looked fantastic!
Here are some more pictures of my beautiful family. I long for the day when I can see them again!
-Photography by Brent Sheffield-