Sunrise in Delray Beach

Sunrise in Delray Beach

You can go home again. And that’s what I’m doing this week. Sixteen years after moving to Florida, I’m moving back to Massachusetts.

It isn’t precisely the same home I left all those years ago—I’m returning by myself and to a different town—but it’s home nonetheless. I was born there (Springfield), went to college there (Boston—Go, Huskies!), got my first real job there (Newton), got married there (Weston), and gave birth to my beautiful daughter there (Newton).

I look forward to going home and the new adventures that await me and Dick (that nice fella I’ve been going with for the past few years), but I’m going to miss a lot of Florida-only things.

Despite all its craziness—flesh-eating zombies high on bath crystals, machete-wielding psychos, and escaped wild animals (lions, monkeys, cobras are just a few things that come to mind) and its ridiculous politics (don’t get me started)—Florida has a plethora of amazing things.

Combine those with the amazing people I’ve come to know, and I have had some of the best experiences. I may have come to Florida dragging my feet and complaining the entire first year, but I am glad I stuck around to enjoy all of those wonderful things.

So, with tears in my eyes (and often running down my cheeks), I thought I’d share some of my favorite things (and memories) about my living in South Florida:

Girl Scout Troop 20609

Girl Scout Troop 20609 camping at Collier-Seminole State Park in 2009. My fondest memories of my time in Florida include this bunch.

  • Girl Scout adventures: We’ve had so many! Camping, marching in parades, swimming with manatee, and our trip to Savannah, Georgia, are just a few.
  • Girl Scout mom dinners: Pauline, Audrey, and Caroline are my foundation—my core group of women, my Florida support system. Over the past 13-plus years, I’ve had so many good times with them, and I can always rely on them. Plus, our girls are also close friends.
  • Banyan Creek Elementary School: Paisley had the BEST principal a student could want, Massachusetts native William Fay, and she had so many fantastic teachers – Ms. Tamburri, Mr. Johnston, Mr. Kay, Ms. McMillan – to name just a few! And I met so many wonderful parents who became true friends through my volunteer work there. That school has a special place in my heart.
  • Watching my daughter dance in her recitals
  • Seeing my daughter graduate from high school
  • Paisley birthday parties: I don’t want to gloat, but I put on some damn good birthday parties for little girls. Paisley had a ladybug party, a princess party, a Barbie party, and a Survivor party (my favorite) – to name just a few.
  • Space shuttle launches: I’ve seen the shuttle launch from the beach in Cocoa Beach, from the dock of a restaurant, through the window of my living room, and while driving in my car. It is a sight that always fills you with awe—no matter how close you are to the liftoff.
  • Getting my Lucy puppy
  • Kayaking alongside manatee and dolphins
  • Swimming with dolphins
  • Sunrises in Delray Beach
  • Florida beaches: The beaches here are beautiful. I’ve never felt like I needed to go to the Bahamas or Hawaii because of the wonderful beaches in South Florida. Soft sand, warm water, and excellent snorkeling—I have been spoiled.
  • Sunsets in Mallory Square (Key West): I’ve been fortunate to go to the Keys three times. Each time was amazing.
  • Seeing a bobcat
  • Walks at Green Cay Wetlands: So many wonderful birds come here, plus bobcat live here. And you can always see a gator.
  • Our first visit to Disney World: I can’t count the number of times we’ve been to Disney World – maybe 50? We always have fun, but that first time bringing a 3-year-old Paisley to the “happiest place on Earth” was the most magical.
  • Cuban food: You haven’t lived until you’ve had authentic Cuban food. It’s going to be a struggle to fulfill my Cuban sandwich cravings in Massachusetts.

Sure, Florida has its flaws. But it also has many wonderful things—and I experienced things here that I would never have experienced anywhere else.