Steelers Country

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Today was our first full-on Pittsburgh day, with The Strip downtown and even a visit with some relatives from the east side of the city. It made me melancholy and here's why:

For as long as I've known him, my grandpa has worn something Steelers every single day. If it wasn't Steelers, it was the Penguins or Pirates. T-shirts, collared shirts, shorts, jackets (though those were rare considering he doesn't put one on until it's below 40) and always, always a hat.
This completely embodies everything I love about Pittsburgh.
As my mom would say, "It's not a great place to live." And she would have an idea, having spent almost 25 years here. The weather is best summed up as hazy, hot and humid in the summer, 65 and rainy until March, and then it starts snowing. Everything is old and crowded and crooked.
I see all that. But the Pittsburgh I see is more.
It's the thing of legends.
It's the subject of every dinner conversation and recounted memory. It's the city of a team that carries remarkable pride and fandom. It's growing up with your cousins down the street and going to your grandma's house every Sunday.
I've heard more stories than I will ever remember, which pains me immensely because there is nothing more I want than to write them all down.
The common theme?
My childhood was lucky. I had a big house and backyard, great schools, friends, neighbors. Grandparents that would come to visit all the time, and aunts and uncles and cousins that did the same. 
And yet I can't help but feel that I missed out. No fireflies in the summer, no traditional ethnic groceries. I blame Arizona for most of it, and as for the rest, I recognize that my time as a kid could never have been the same as my mom's.
But I want to try for my kids.
I want them to grow up down the street from their grandparents and cousins (although I'd have to get along with my brother first, so we'll see). I want thick, green backyards and humid summer nights. I want old houses that creak and don't look exactly the same. I want streets that aren't on a grid.

Today two people I respect and admire very much asked me what I wanted to do come graduation, and for the first time I wished I had a truly driven, valid response. 
One that would make them proud.
For some reason this day more than any other has opened my eyes to the fact that I can and should start getting my shit together. Not that it's all over the place now. But eventually, it's not going to be just me and my shoes. It's going to be me with a job and a career I should be proud of, and a husband I want to raise a family with. Sometimes I joke or question about having kids and my ability to patiently raise them, but I know without a doubt my family will be my greatest accomplishment. I want to be the grandma with a beach house and invite the whole huge clan over for holidays. I want to be a published writer and novelist. I want to be the kind of person who attracts wonderful people, and to leave a legacy.
This may be the kind of thing I read four years from now and cringe, but somehow I doubt it. I may be emotional today and not be able to pinpoint exactly why, but I do know that these things I'm saying are on the right track. 
So there. 

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