The other day I went to lunch with my father.  We have never been as close as I’ve wanted, we have very little in common.  It is possible that I’m not related to him.  My mother left us when I was 2.

Today was the best conversation we have ever had.  I was completely genuine with him, and explained that even if my teaching job had worked out, I don’t want to live here.  I want to live in the country, with my love.  My dad looked at all the pics of my many weeks on the farm, and he understood. He got it.

He asked if before I leave, we could spend some time at the storage unit.  The unit that could park an RV, that houses years and years of his sister’s things, his mother’s things, his own things…  We do this every year or two, spend a few hours, get overwhelmed, ignore it for another year.  I have told him we need to do this before he dies, because I will never ever open the unit again after he dies.

We ended up spending many afternoons working together, had some bonding, shared stories.  It was so healing to me.

On the first day, he opened a box (there are hundreds of boxes there, by the way) and found a letter I wrote my gramma, his mom, when I was in college.

I don’t remember this particular letter.  I wrote her many.  It’s in my handwriting, purple pen too.  I read it out loud, the words written from my younger self just before graduating college… from my 22 year old heart to one of my favorite humans in the world…  sent to my gramma a year before she died.
“On the weekends though, when everyone is going out, I am working.  But really, I don’t like to go out all that much.  I really miss you, and sometimes I feel like I live so far away!  I miss just walking over when I want to visit, and spending whole evenings together.  I need more hours in my day.  Life is so hectic and fast paced.  That’s why I want to live in the country.  I want to have lots of grass and wild flowers, trees, a river or a lake…  I want to plant a garden and cook all my food homemade.  I want to lie in the sun and look up at the clouds through the leaves of trees, sleep outside under the stars…  I don’t want to see sidewalks, street signs, traffic lights, traffic, freeways, litter, malls, or anything.  I want to ride my horse to the mailbox, and shop at a farmer’s market.  How’s that for future aspirations!  

Maybe I lied.  I didn’t go to college so I could get a good job.  I went so I could learn something about life… find a deeper meaning to this existence than just partying and working, earning money… When I get to the end of my life, I want to look back and feel like I really lived, not just consumed and wasted.  I want to find nature.  So that’s my deep thoughts…”

My dad and I stood there looking at each other, both too choked up for words.  He said he didn’t realize I wrote letters like that to his mom.  I said she raised me.  He didn’t realize we were that close. And then in front of my eyes, I watched it dawn on him that he doesn’t know me at all. And never has.

What are the odds we would find this letter, this day, in this box, just a week after I decided to go live in the country, on a farm, where all the foods are grown fresh and we go to the yard to pick dinner… He lives on almost 300 acres of country, in the farm house his grandparents built, surrounded by more country; blue skies, orchards, ponds, grass, wildflowers.

I felt like I had written this letter to my future self, to remind me not to shut out what my heart has most wanted my entire life, to never forget my soul yearning.  I needed to remind my future adult self to stop listening to what others think I should do, what society tells me to do…  I had forgotten I had written this letter, but deep down, I have never forgotten what kind of life I deeply longed for.  For the first time since my gramma died, I felt like she had reached out to me, her angel hand put this letter right here where we would find it.

Serendipitous.  Goose bumps.  Tears for homecoming to my heart and being genuine.

My dad said, “You have always hated the city huh?”
Yes.  But I gave it 21 more years after this letter, just to make sure.
We laughed and hugged.