I’m dreaming tonight of a place I know, even more than I usually do. And although I know, it’s a long road back, I promise you, I’ll be home for Christmas.

As much as I love the life I have created for myself in Orlando, coming back to Michigan for the holidays is the highlight of my year. Waking up in my old room and running down the stairs on Christmas morning is a feeling that I never realized meant so much to me until I moved out on my own. I hate winter more than anyone, I hate being cold, but there’s nothing better than a white Christmas morning. I get to see my whole family and spend some quality time with them. I get to hang out with the boys and relive all of the stupid things they did in high school and create some new memories to relive next year.

But for all the reasons I love to come back to my childhood home, its a little bittersweet because I remember all of the reasons I left. It’s all of the dumb small town drama, all of the girls who walked the stage with me who are now carrying children on their hips, and the people who seemingly had potential that are now stuck here in town.

I get told all the time, “Jaz, you forget where you came from” or “Don’t try and act like you aren’t from the mitten”  but that isn’t the case at all.

I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t grow up where I did.

Growing up in Lansing makes me appreciate every opportunity that much more. It makes me strive to be better, to be bigger than the 517.

But all of that being said, I still enjoy the feeling of calm and familiarity that washes over me as I drive down the highway and I see the Lansing skyline come into view.

I still look forward to the nights I spend at the Breslin Center cheering on my spartans. I still cherish the nights I spend curled up under a blanket in the living room with my family as we watch tv at night. I will always remember the nights spent sitting around the boys, laughing until my whole body hurts. And my heart will never feel as full of love and happiness as it does sitting around the tree as the sun rises on Christmas morning.

No matter where life takes me, where I may live, the paths I may take, coming back to Michigan for the holidays will always be the highlight of my year. If I have anything to say about it, I’ll be home for Christmas.


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