Frankly, this is something I should have done a long time ago. It's been on my mind for years, but whenever I looked back upon all that we have been through together, I just didn't have the heart.
You have provided for me a tremendously invaluable security. When I was a scared little girl, you were my comfort zone. You were there for the very first steps I ever took. And when I fell, as we all do, you caught my fall. You were my coziest pajamas and hot cocoa on a cold winter's night and my breath of fresh air on a much needed summertime adventure. Somehow you taught me all there was to know about being a young child, for which I can never repay you.
As I moved into my incredibly difficult and awkward teenage years, again you were right there beside me, never letting go of my hand. You saw everything from my ugliest hairstyle to my very first kiss (and some other firsts I don't care to mention) but loved me anyway. There isn't a doubt in my mind that I loved you just as much.
It wasn't until my graduation from high school that things really began to change between us. The more you protected me, the more I needed to take my own risks. The more I replied upon your shelter, the more I needed to spread my own wings. In a way it's like the stronger our connection grew, the more it confined me. And I needed to break free.
It wasn't until we took time apart, several years in fact, that I saw and felt what I'd been missing. What I'd thought was all I ever needed turned out to be nothing but the pitter-patter of a childhood crush compared to the true love I uncovered when I left. Still, I tried. I'd return to you every once in a while, for a holiday or special occasion, but it just wasn't the same.
They say that if you really love something, you need to let it go. If it comes back to you, it is yours to keep. But if it doesn't, it was never meant to be. That's how I know my decision to leave was the best one for me.
The miles between us are far greater than I ever expected. (There are 2,982 of them, to be exact.) And my memories with you are irreplaceable. I undoubtedly flourished with you... You helped mold me into the woman, wife and mother that I am today. And it is for exactly that reason that I will never be back.
Leaving you was one of the more difficult break-up decisions I've ever had to make, but I couldn't be more grateful for it. Thank you, my dear hometown, for being all that you are and all that you will never be.