Ever been on a vacation and you're much more thankful that you're home? Yeah, that's my case. I'm not saying I had a bad time or anything. It was just long, sometimes stressful and trying. Picture this: 7 of us including my parents, my sister and her 3 children ages 14, 10 and 7 in a minivan, traveling over 600 miles in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi (mostly very small towns) to visit my father's family who we hardly see. Where we went was beautiful and the people were friendly. But, I have learned that I am a total city slicker. It was hard for me not to want to stomp the accelerator hard (Yes, I was the ONLY driver...mom hates driving, dad can't and my mom doesn't trust my sister and the rental car was in my name). People go at a slower pace. I wasn't able to check my e-mail, not that I brought my laptop anyway. There wasn't the places and the foods that I was used to. It was about balancing everybody's wants and needs including a very verbal, stubborn and sometimes pain in the behind 7 year old boy and a mouthy 14 year old teenager who thinks he knows everything. I butted heads with my mother who is very much bossy like me and my sister who I love dearly but is very ADD and flies by the seat of her pants a lot. My dad drove me nuts because this was his trip and he wanted to go back to all these places and see all these people from his childhood/teenage years. I think he was trying to put to rest the ghosts of his traumatic past. The problem was that so much time has passed and people have moved on. He says he's going to do something but he doesn't (like stay in contact with his family and others from his past). It's weird how he HAD to do it now. I loved visiting with my Aunt Lucille in Dermott. I hated dropping in on some complete strangers who lived down the road from where my dad lived briefly with his father and his stepmother and stepsiblings. I loved seeing the historic cotton district in Monroe where my dad lived in a boarding house with his father. I was glad to visit my grandmother's grave in Epps. I also loved seeing my cousin Angelique and her children and her husband. I hated finding out that my summer school position had been cut (as I got the phone call waiting for our hotel room to be3 ready) because they were closing down summer school at the two campuses and consolidating it into one (I have to believe there's a Godly reason but I'm bummed that I won't be getting a sweet bonus this year). But, I hope my father gained some peace and some closure in his life. I hope he can let go of the past and be okay with it. I hope he can realize his horrid growing up years were not his fault. I hope he'll be okay and that he didn't reopen any old battle wounds.