As we approached the truck route on the west side of Roswell, nostalgia filled the car. If we turned right and headed south, we would be in my hometown of Artesia. We started sharing memories and I calculated that I hadn't visited Artesia in nearly 12 years. My parents moved from Artesia nearly a decade ago while I was in college and I had no need to visit once they left.
Artesia is a town of about 10,000 people. While the politics are scary to an open-minded, gay, liberal such as myself, the town will always hold a place in my heart. It is such a child-focused, family-oriented, wholesome place. As I have grown older, lived a life, and began a family, I have become very aware of how much of Artesia has stuck with me. I will forever be a small town boy at heart. I will always fiercely love football and will always yearn for long country drives listening to music.
The memories flowed as we drove into town. Some things have changed, but most of the town remains the same. We ate at my favorite restaurant. We drove by my favorite places, my elementary school, and my friend's houses. We stopped by my childhood home that sits behind the church my dad preached at for over 30 years.
The thing I loved most is that I was there with Jerry. When I left Artesia, I hadn't "come out of the closet" and I felt that I was running from a place I knew would never accept me. I came out 1 year later, at the age of 19, and set off on my life journey. 12 years after my last visit, I am in Artesia with my new son. We are playing in the same parks that I did when I was Jerry's age. We are eating at the same restaurants and taking pictures on the porch of my childhood home where I came out to my parents 14 years ago. Next week, I will return home to my husband and reunite my two sons. It was a surreal experience to see how far I have come.
Life is truly a remarkable journey and I was so happy we turned left on the truck route that led me back to my childhood home.