It took some time, but eventually, Tennessee became home too. I went to middle school, high school, and college in the town that we moved to. I made friends, got my driver's license, and my first job there. My parents split and I buried my dad in the Volunteer State. I met and married JD and had both of my babies in that town. Tennessee was a blend of happy and sad and because of it, I am deeply rooted there.
I returned to Tennessee 10 days ago. And while it was a great trip with much needed time with my family, I wasn't prepared to feel the way that I did about my former home state. It felt familiar, but definitely not like it was my home anymore, just a place I used to live.
JD said that is what happens when you move away and come back for a visit: it never feels like home again. My home is in California now. Tennessee is where my family lives. And because of that, I am still deeply rooted there.
It's strange to say, but I missed my new home in California while I was away. The trip to Tennessee made me realize that I can be rooted here too, with my little family. And while I will always hold Tennessee near and dear to my heart, it's not home anymore. I have planted my roots here.