My first memories of Maine are confined to the walls of a rented cottage on Goose Rocks Beach. It's embarrassing to admit, but those memories are actually of my mother placing a sticker on each day of the calendar on which I did not wet my bed.
Fast-forward seven years to when my parents chose to buy a house, instead of spending another summer renting someone else's space. It was then Maine started to serve as a true extension of our home.
Eight years after that, college in my Vacationland seemed like the only natural choice. But instead of the coast, I headed for the woods, and found my new spot in Farmington.
Four years later, I left for the green mountains of Vermont, knowing deep down that I would eventually return. Fast forward once more, three years this time, to a voicemail I will never forget: my brother-in-law telling me he is about to be deployed, and asking if I would consider moving back to Maine, to help care for my pregnant sister, and later, her newborn.
Maine holds two things: the ocean, and my family. And through my roundabout journey, here, then there, and back here again, I have realized that both are essential to my happiness.
You know that feeling when a favorite song comes on the radio and your whole body relaxes? And it isn't until it happens that you even realize you were stressed in the first place? That is the exact sensation I get every time I drive over the Piscataqua River Bridge. No matter where I've lived, Maine is the only place that has ever truly felt like home.
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