How has your Family History, Culture, or Environment Influenced Who you Are?

How has your Family History, Culture, or Environment Influenced Who you are?

I remember vividly the day I spent picking strawberries with my grandfather. I was twelve years old and my family had just moved back to Florida after living in Iceland for three and a half years. My Pappy was a tall, tattooed, skinny old sailor with wispy white once red-blonde hair that, in his youth, had suggested his Scotch-Irish temper. He loved beer and baseball and wouldn’t hesitate to light a fire under a wayward male cousin of mine, but that fiery temper never fell on me, I was his favorite grandchild. “Bridgette,” he’d say, “I love all my grandbabies, but from the day you were born you’ve always been my girl.” I’d always blush fiercely in response and hug him tightly. I’d missed him terribly during our tour in the land of fire and ice.

My skin tingled pleasantly as I sat in the front seat of his old black pick-up on our way home after our day of strawberries and sun. We’d left early that morning when the day was still cool, and spent all day outside. Blair, my younger sister, slept soundly in the back seat; her face tinted pink from sun or strawberries or both. I grinned up at my grandfather as he crooned along with the radio to an old song I didn’t recognize, but none the less found myself swaying to. Still deep down warm from the day, a cool sea breeze from the open window sent a pleasant shiver of contrast down my spine and made the little hairs on my arm stand momentarily on end. My eyelids began to droop and my head began to nod. Leaning my head back against the seat I glanced languidly out the window at the painted Florida sunset. I felt good.

My life has been spent on the move; my environment constantly changing. As a military child I’ve become accustomed to new places, new faces, and new friends; I’ve even spent the majority of my life overseas on air bases around the world. Every move with its new set of goodbyes and heartache serves to bring me closer to my family and, I hope, make me stronger and more prepared for the future. So, what is home? As pivotal as my environment has been in making me the person I am today it is the moments, like those spent dozing in the front seat of a pick-up truck, that provide me with that ever elusive sense of home, not some place, and not some house that I happen to be living in. I’ve never had the opportunity to set down roots, but I have had a lifetime’s worth of once in a lifetime experiences and become extremely close to the people who truly care about me. My family is the constant in my life; they are the ones who’ve made me who I am.