Just to paint a small picture of my family; it is big!, a large percentage live in or near Thompson ND, they are mainly Catholic and Lutheran (it is the Midwest!), and everyone is pretty close. As I mentioned in the "pre-trip post" I was a bit nervous to be bringing Rachel back. It's the upper midwest, its conservative, enough said. I know my family loves me and wants to be accepting of whatever makes me happy, but change is hard and most people in that area don't even (knowingly) know anyone who is not heterosexual.
Everyone blew all of my worries right out of the water though! They were amazing and welcoming and loving. This shouldn't have been a surprise to me because this is exactly the family I grew up with; warm and welcoming to everyone. But I was throwing in a curve ball and my own anxieties and insecurities left me questioning the stability of that family atmosphere that I had not yet seen falter.
I was also finally able to appreciate the beauty of ND. I was so ready to leave when I moved; ready to experience something bigger and more complex. I thought that I was being stifled by lack of stimulation. How did I not see how freeing it can be? The vastness and pristine nature of land as far as you can see, is actually liberating. The simplicity is calming and rejuvenating, not boring as I once had been so quick to judge.
It was a wonderful trip home! I left feeling refreshed and reminded of the overwhelming and unconditional love that surrounds me. I appreciate where I came from so much because I clearly saw how everything from my upbringing shaped me into the person that I am today, and I am proud of that person. Im so glad that Rachel got to witness that. I think it was also the escape that we needed; not just time away, but also a chance for her to fully see me, which I so strongly needed.
My dad :)