For those who don’t know, I grew up in Mississippi. I wrote about it a while back after reading an article about prominent Mississippi women. After leaving my job (and 15-year career track) at the end of June, I knew what I wanted to do first: Go home.
Because of COVID, I’d limited my trips to MS. I planned to go home in March 2020 (#womp) and didn’t make it until August of that year. In 2021, I went home in March of this year and again in July. I spent nearly 2 weeks there!
It was a really good decision. I needed to get out of Georgia and just be around my family and friends. And I did exactly that! It went by way too fast but my heart is still very full.
I stayed with my mom which was a delight to my dog, Cookie. She was able to see her favorite person and have one too many scraps from the kitchen. I was able to get one of my mom’s custom omelets and hot chocolate (I don’t make it as good as she does). I lost my house key a few years back (don’t ask), so I made sure to be home at a decent hour since I was in those MS streets!
I spent the 4th with one of my best friends overlooking the Mississippi River and watching fireworks in Vicksburg. Later on in the week, we hung out again with more friends as we had dinner overlooking the reservoir. I scheduled a photoshoot and my friend MH and her kids accompanied me and we had a ball! It was hot that day but she and I cooled off the next day with dinner and drinks.
Although I grew up in Jackson, it is a bit foreign since I have been in GA for almost the same amount of time. However, spending time with family and friends also allows me to explore Jackson a bit; MH and I were here, and this place reminds me of Atlanta. It’s nice to see the city evolving.
I got to see my cousins (*happy dance) and indulged in food and drinks, and then we hung out with one of our aunts by watching classic movies (like “Carmen Jones”) and sipping wine and eating hors d’oeuvres.
Speaking of … let me tell you about our aunties: They are magic. (1) They will always feed you, (2) they keep the secrets safe, and (3) they are incredible role models. Auntie MP (mentioned above) is my mentor. She is a good listener and a boss, so I can always talk to her about my professional journey and she is always so supportive and insightful.
Auntie MB and I have always been really close: She used to send me books signed by authors and/or illustrators when I was a kid, and she believes in the power of a handwritten note. We used to be pen pals back in the day and I still love getting notes from her. She has also introduced me to names and faces in Black culture, and we share a love of museums.
I’ve always considered Auntie LH as my second mother, and I was able to see her and my cousins. I love how she decorates: She has themes for certain rooms, and I was inspired by her process when I decorated my own house. I got my hands on some fresh corn and tomatoes (thanks to my sweet soror who I also got to see!), and my aunt showed me and more cousins how to shuck corn. Aside from a couple of worms (I was warned …), it was pretty fun. She said that when she was a little girl, she and her sisters would use the silk from the corn as doll hair. Her granddaughter (and my little cousin J) got a kick out of that).
My aunt LP taught me how to cook some of my favorite dishes (they all involve pasta), and I stopped by her house with a couple of plants. Her daughter, a college sophomore, was home for the summer and we all talked about school. I was a college sophomore when my cousin was born and accompanied my aunt to a few doctor’s appointments.
(Time really has me in my feelings … wipes tears)
My aunt NG tutored me in math and science all through K-12 and she is now a teacher. Since I am heading down that path, she’s been a great resource since she has taught on several levels, including collegiate. We have inside jokes and giggle when we are together.
Granny and more
When I see aunt NG, I also see my grandmother. She is my ultimate role model and has poured so much into me. We were able to have some 1:1 time, which I value so much. There are things that are just between me and my grandmother, and I am so grateful for our relationship.
My favorite part of being home was being able to love on my nephew. He will be 2 in January and is a ball of energy! He got his first haircut when I was home, and I got to see more of his personality. I also got to spend lots of time with my sister-in-law and little brother which is always so much fun. They hiked with me on my birthday in Georgia at Stone Mountain; this time, we had a more low-key time with drinks and food.
In the midst of everything, I still had my laptop in tow (#summerschool) but being in MS was a breath of fresh air. As I continue with my career and life transitions, these people will always be in my corner.