Roots, Wings, and the Places We Leave our Hearts

They say the most important things you can give your children are roots and wings. My parents did an excellent job of giving me roots. They run deep into the red soil of north Georgia. I very much love being able to go “home”: the place where I grew up, with familiar landmarks, people and patterns. My wings are akin to those of a penguin: I have them but they’re not terribly practical. 

My husband is the opposite. His wings want to soar. He travels light and often, whereas I overpack to go grocery shopping. 

We have managed to create a child who is a delightful combination. JC travels with excellent ease, but likes his “normal” routine in the morning and evening. As long as I can bookend his days with a semblance of his normal, he is open to adventure in between.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of home recently. We’ve had two household moves in less than a year, and we’re on the tail end of a month long business trip with my husband. His new job has locations in Hawaii and California, and when he travels for long periods, the boy and I get to join him. Next up is Fort Lauderdale. So needless to say, home is kind of a fluid concept right now.

 

Have buddies, will travel

 
I’ve really come to believe that home is less about where you hang you hat, and more about where you leave a peice of your heart.

It’s why home is a house on a hill in a small North Georgia town. It’s where I grew up, both literally and figuratively. It’s where I still run into people I know, and where the twang returns to voice no matter how hard I try to keep it out.

Home is a small campus in Covington, Georgia. Emory University started on the cozy Oxford Campus, and in a way, so did I. Oxford was the first place I lived away from where I grew up, and I love to return in the fall to see the leaves turn and make the campus it’s most beautiful. I always feel like I could run into a younger, more naive version of myself around every corner.

Home is a tangled mess of Atlanta city streets where there is always traffic and I still manage to get lost despite the fact I’ve lived there most of my adult life. Atlanta was the first place I consciously chose to dwell, and I love it. I still get starry-eyed over the skyline, and there are certain city spots that give me comfort like an old friend.

 

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

 
Home is a made-up place, where there’s a castle and a mouse and fairy tales unfold every day. Some people call Disney a tourist trap, but I call it home: it’s where my father walked me down the aisle, where my family and I go to focus on each other, and where I can shut out reality every once and awhile.

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And finally, I’m coming to realize home doesn’t have to be a place. It’s the way my husband knows how to hug me just the right way to make the stress of the day melt away. It’s the smell of my husband’s cologne. It’s the way I can just relax around my mom.

It’s sort of a comforting thought, to be honest, that home is not a singular place. That I can find home 5,000 miles away on a tropical island or on a phone call with a familiar voice. That it isn’t just where your heart is, but where you give your heart out.

Where have you left pieces of your heart?

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When the Going Gets Tough…the Tough Edit.

It has been a very long week.

The stress of moving has caught up with all of us. My whole family is tired and cranky. Half our stuff is still in boxes. We have found the smoothie maker but not the blade, rendering the maker useless. We have found most of the silverware. The majority of my bathroom things are scattered between the master bath and the garage in half-open boxes–which is okay, because we didn’t have hot water until yesterday. These are all first world problems, and I feel even worse for being upset by them.

By last night, I’d had it. A combination of early mornings and itchy spots from the swarms of mosquitos in our backyard had both me and JC at the end of our ropes. Once I finally got him to bed, I went to sink into a hot bath with my newly turned on water–only to find water that could be called lukewarm on a frigid day. I put on my robe and my squishiest yoga pants and stomped around the house. I had just decided to sit down and have a good cry when I thought of something better.

I didn’t need to cry. I needed to edit.

I may not know where the lid to my garbage can is, but I know where all my writing is: on a little red flash drive that always–ALWAYS–sits on my desk. When it has to be moved, it goes on my person. For those of you who aren’t writers, this may sound dramatic. For those of you that are–well, I don’t need to explain any further.

Moments later I was facing a list of nearly all the writing I’ve done in my adult life, in various stages of completion. I picked a piece and BAM–it gave my mind something to entirely focus on. It took me into the character’s head, into someone else world. Someone who needed to be walked through things, made more precise here, slightly more direct there. Who needed to think about things and act on things that had nothing to do with the state of my physical house.

It was glorious.

Two hours of editing later, I felt refreshed. I went to bed with no tears having been shed and a readiness to pick it all up tomorrow and keep moving forward–in both the real world and the world in my head.

Do you enjoy editing your work?

On the Move

I’m back to blogging after a break in which we moved from our city apartment to a roomy house in the suburbs, and I have some things to report.

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Moving is hard. Especially for almost five-year-olds. Luckily, Grover helps.

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Hello Everybodeee!

As does shoveling packing peanuts.

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I really, really have too many books. This isn’t even half. You guys, the movers DID NOT like me.

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Moving isn’t the hardest part. Getting settled into a new house is the hard part. Yesterday JC stated, “Mom, I do not like this new house. You know why? Because your bathroom is too big.” And then he burst into tears. Luckily, playing baseball in his new yard eases the pain of his parent’s oversized bathroom.

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You find weird things when you move. While I was going through a box of my father’s old things, I came across this sugar packet from Disney World. From my parents honeymoon. in 1981.

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Not throwing it away. Nope.

Tomorrow is the start of our first full week in our new home, and I’m excited to start finding our patterns in a new space. And writing. And re-reading all the books I made the movers haul around.

How long have you been in your home? Any tips of transitioning a young child into a new space?