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getting in touch with my inner colorado girl

Turning in my house key


The beauty of living nine hours away from my mom’s house is that I can decide to drive there on a whim. The downside of living nine hours away from my mom’s house is that I can decide to drive there on a whim. I don’t know if you’ve had the extreme pleasure of driving across the entire state of Kansas before, but it can definitely be a mindnumbing experience. My new approach to dealing with Kansas is actually to do it at night, and I found myself leaving Denver at height of rush hour this past Thursday evening. Clearly this was a poor decision, and I found myself rolling into the driveway of my mom’s house at 3:30 a.m. I also probably would have made it there sooner had I not gotten lost in my hometown when I got off of the highway. Yes, this actually happened.

So what brought me to beautiful St. Joseph, Missouri at 3:30 a.m. on Friday? Well, my mom is moving to Virginia this summer, and I had been under the impression that I would have until at least July to come home and clean out my room. This was apparently not the case, and after I learned this I did some serious rearranging of my schedule. It soon became clear that the only weekend that I had even sort of free was this weekend. And since my time was so limited in Missouri, I really didn’t want to waste a whole day driving on Friday. Hence the all-night drive and 3:30 a.m. arrival. I don’t know it made sense to me at the time.

During my nine hour drive from Denver, I had a lot of time to reflect on Missouri and my mom’s move to Virginia. At first blush, this doesn’t seem like an advantageous move for me. I mean my mom is now an airplane flight away, not just a nine hour drive away. But this move actually makes a lot of sense for my family. One of my brothers lives in Virginia, and my niece was just born. My mom is the only member of my family that lives in Missouri. So this move to Virginia is actually a consolidation of my family! Plus my mom and I are already talking big plans for mother/daughter backpacking trips in the Appalachians and kayaking in the St. Jame’s river.

The end of an era

While I’m excited for my family’s relocation to Virginia, it’s still kind of weird to be saying good-bye to Missouri. It’s not good-bye to Missouri forever, but it is good-bye to spending holidays and trips to visit my family in Missouri. I turned in my Missouri house key to my mom, and I now have no house key to anywhere other than my house in Denver. It definitely feels like the end of an era.

Missouri house.

Missouri yard.

Missouri cat.

I have a lot of college friends that live in Kansas City, and I know I’ll be visiting there in the future plenty of times. However, I don’t know when I’ll be back in St. Joseph. And even if I do visit St. Joseph, it won’t be the same. I spent the past few days just trying to get out and enjoy everything wonderful about Missouri.

Show Me State Love

I don’t think Missouri is any less beautiful than Colorado. Truly. Mountains happen to be my cup of tea, but there is something to be said for leafy trees and rolling plains.

Excited for Missouri trail running.

Running the trails at Krug Park in St. Joseph, MO. Gorgeous!

Waterfall at Krug Park.

Nothing like a Missouri sunset.

Missouri (and Colorado) girl.

Sunset walk at Mark Youngdahl in St. Joseph, MO.

The “trail” at Missouri Western State University, where my high school XC team practiced.

Monster hill loops from high school XC. I ran one, they’re still no fun.

It looks like this trip was all play and no work, but I assure you I also did some serious cleaning out of my room. I ended up throwing away four full garbage bags of stuff, giving away four boxes to Goodwill, and packing two boxes to take back to Denver and four boxes for my mom to take to Virginia. This was for sure a necessary trip. While I was sorting through my entire life from the past 15 years, I started thinking about the truly important things in life. You know, just one of those days. Was I really having a hard time throwing away pieces of paper and notes from high school or was I thinking more about the relationships they represented? It was the relationships. Possessions and places don’t have any meaning without the people who make them special. I’m losing my mom’s house in Missouri, but I’m not losing the friends who have made it a special place. I’ll always have a home in Missouri. Although let’s hope I’m not ever going to be driving across Kansas at 2:00 a.m. again.

I might not have a house in Missouri anymore, but I have people there who will always make it a home for me.


Author: paulamahla

Typical Colorado girl that can't make up her mind. Trail running, hiking, climbing, camping, CrossFit, ultimate frisbee, and skiing? E, all of the above.

4 thoughts on “Turning in my house key

  1. Those photos are gorgeous!
    Cleaning out an old room is hard – I still have boxes of “I’ll do it later” at my mom’s house, even after she moved!

  2. Aww, I love this post! And I love Missouri!

  3. great pictures! running in MO = AIR TO BREATHE! hope you had fun!

  4. Pingback: Railroad revival | return to the motherland

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