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In Minnesota

by Tyler

I wish I could say that our homecoming in Minnesota was as wonderful as our joyful return to Illinois, but in reality, it has been extremely difficult. In fact, there is an enormous, gaping hole in my homecoming experience. For the past few months, Tara and I have been enmeshed in a massively painful disagreement with my father and step-mother. We haven't seen them, or my little brothers and sisters yet.

This ongoing saga has been a drain on my fortitude daily, and I have spent countless hours writing about the experience, trying to work through my emotions. None of what I've penned is publishable.

Though there has been a lot of pain surrounding my homecoming, it certainly hasn't been all bad. We've returned to stay with my mom, Jodi, who welcomed us with a massively long group hug, and an immediate foray into story telling. Oh how I've missed her hilariously dramatic tales, her refreshing frankness, and her adventurous spirit!

Welcome Home Heart from Jodi Mom Jodi (Mom) & Tyler Climbing Out of a Tree Jodi (Mom) & Tyler in a Tree Jodi (Mom) & Tyler in a Tree Jodi (Mom) Bellydancing Jodi (Mom) and Tyler

We also finally got to meet and hang out with our new nephew, Eli, who was born while we were in Serbia over a year ago! Watching the little dude run around, seeing so much of my sister, Amanda, and my brother-in-law, Paul, in him, has been a truly fascinating experience. It is surreal to think that they created this little being!

Eli Giggling Amanda & Eli Amanda & Eli Eli Inspecting Dandelion Seed Amanda & Eli Eli & Watering Can Eli & Amanda

Besides seeing family, we've also hung out with friends, talking late into the night…

Alex Tony & Cata Eli & Ashley Matt & Alvero Tara Rosie Camp Fire

…and were briefly reunited with our cats, who are currently under the kind care of my sister until we get settled somewhere. They're living outdoors these days, and they go on walks with my sister and her dogs! I missed them, but I did not miss their white cat hair on all of my black clothing.

Tyler & Tao Tao

Here in Minnesota, the summers are hot, miserable, and humid, and the air is thick with mosquitoes. It may be a bittersweet arrival, but at least we're here, safe and sound.

Sunset Driveway After the Rain Fireworks Tyler Holding Roman Candle