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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Anywhere in the World?

If you could live anywhere, where would you go?

Mama Kat’s writing prompt this week was right up my alley: You have to move away from your state in one month. List 6 destinations you wouldn’t mind relocating to. I just finished reading Paris in Love, a memoir about a woman and her husband who moved to Paris for a year with their two young children. It made me daydream about where I would go if I had the funds, inclination and freedom. Then I realized most of the places I want to live for a year were…a little hard to get to.

London:  I’m a little obsessed with jolly old England right now. I think it might have something to do with Princess Kate and Burberry, but why fight it? I have visions of wandering cobblestone streets wearing an adorable trench coat while JC trots along beside me looking suspiciously like Christopher Robin. I realize this is not what it would be like, but it’s a daydream list, right?

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I’m pretty sure I think London would be just like stepping into the movie “Notting Hill”.

Stars Hollow: While we’re on the subject of daydreams, I’d love to live in the fictional town alongside the Gilmore girls. Do small towns like that really exist? Where you can wander from your house to the town square, encountering all sorts of characters along the way? I want to live there.

(Side note: I found this fun webpage that lists Stars Hollow-esque places in New England to visit. Just in case.)

Storybrooke: Oooo, or the small town from Once Upon a Time. Sure, there are curses every couple of weeks and the constant concern that Rumplestiltskin is going to go completely Dark One on the community. But Prince Charming is the law enforcement and Jiminy Cricket is the town shrink. It’s a legit trade off.

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Cambridge, Massachusetts: Okay, lets come back to reality.  I’ve always had a thing for Harvard square. Boston is a fantastic city and I would love to live there…and wander around Cambridge with a delicious bagel and my nose stuck in a book.

Hogwarts: Okay, so while I was imagining myself amongst the academics, the hallowed halls of Harvard sort of morphed into moving staircases and great halls with starry skies and a nice view from Gryffindor Tower. Clearly, I’m not into reality today. I should just give in. If you need me, I’ll be packing for the Hogwarts Express.

HogwartsLetter

See? I already have my letter.

If you could go ANYWHERE for a year, where would you go?