Hey all!

So the family and I are preparing for a trip back up north to Pittsburgh, my hometown, and I can’t wait.

A funny thing happens when you move as an adult, especially when all the Big Things in your life happened in your hometown–born; raised; all levels of school, including college; first job.

No matter what you gain in your new home–and don’t mistake me, I have fallen positively in love (in all respects :)) in Florida–you always have a deep sense of belonging, not only to the place, but to the people there.

My family is there, in Pittsburgh. My closest friends are there. Some of my biggest supporters in my job and career are Pittsburghers. I can drive around with no GPS. I know the neighborhoods, the good restaurants, the topography.

The hills, the bridges, the smells, the skyline, the goodness of so many of the people there… They are all etched in me, small parts of my soul that reawaken when I return.

I’m so grateful for where I am right now, but I’m also so grateful for where I came from. I know anyone who has moved can relate.

I sure hope my kids can say the same thing about their home one day. And I will always make sure they know Pittsburgh is always going to be a huge part of their mom’s heart.

In honor of my visit, I’m sharing a post I wrote a while back about my home, and a special place there.

May you appreciate your homes, friends, today and every day.

 

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In my family, we jokingly call it the Tree of Life for its regal, storybook appearance: Massive trunked, straight and broad, with branches that fan out like so many veins in a heart.

But, really it’s the tree of our lives, silently standing guard over all of our moments from our backyard. A peaceful, quiet sentry.

This week as I played in the backyard of my childhood home I noticed the tree watching as I pushed my kids through the backyard in a stroller, as My son splashed in a plastic pool, as my daughter perfected her first steps on the soft blades of northern grass.

That tree has always just, well, been there. How funny, I thought. For such a grand fixture, I had rarely noticed it in years past as I would speed through life.

Well this week has been different.

Fresh air, nature, playtime, family. I’ve gotten all of those in heavy doses so far this week. And it’s made me reflect on what matters.

Family and loved ones—those quiet background players who stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the cacophony of life? They matter.

The smile on the face of a friend you haven’t seen in months when laughing about memories? That matters.

The burn of the sun on your neck as you play outside and the smell of fresh-cut grass and not caring a lick about what you look like or what’s next in your schedule? That matters.

When I told people I was taking a week off for vacation to go home and just play outside, a lot of people looked at me like I was crazy. No beach house? No fancy cruise? Nope. I just needed so desperately to hit the Reset button in my life.

You’ve been there, right?

In the end, it’s not the Fancy or the Glossy that matters. You may have a million followers on Instagram or a billion on Facebook—putting nothing but your best, filtered face forward every day on social media.

But what about the people who know the REAL you? What do they think? That matters.

Take a minute. What—or who—is watching over you? What reminds you of the Simple in your life?

Take a minute, take a deep breath, and feel that grass beneath your bare feet.

Who are you when you’re standing under *your* tree?

The answer to that is all that really matters.

 

 

Sonni Abatta is an Orlando lifestyle and mom blogger who is a mom of 3, a wife, and a proud Pittsburgher for life. Reach out with questions, comments or collaborations to Sonni@SonniAbatta.com.