Saturday, November 11, 2006


This post was originally posted on Blog Mamas on August 3rd, 2006.

My mom and dad have a big garden and recently my mom emailed me this photo of some radishes they grew. Wow, look at those roots! I can't get them out of my mind. Even worse, I've gotten too philosophical about vegetables since seeing this picture.
To explain, you need to know that my parents don't live in the Seattle area. Actually, my husband and I don't have any relatives in Washington state (well, maybe we have a 3rd-cousin-twice-removed somewhere around) or even in any bordering state. Our immediate families live in Montana, California and Texas and we have extended family primarily in New Mexico and Oklahoma.

I love many aspects of our life here in the Pacific Northwest, but I also have a deep urge to grow roots in one place. That feeling grew stronger after Jeep was born. I've been thinking a lot about what it means to have roots and if that experience is even possible. I've lived in three different parts of the US for 6 years or more and I feel connected to each of those places. I miss unique aspects of each of those locations even while I enjoy living here. Did I grow roots in the past and pull them up when I moved? I'm not sure.

Do I need relatives around to have roots? I know the answer is "not necessarily" because I was very connected to my home town and the people there even though I grew up with no extended family around. I have dear friends, good neighbors, supportive colleagues and a network that deepens daily here in Western Washington. I think I should feel rooted here and often I do. But then I see Jeeper with his grandparents or one of his uncles (or any other family member) and I notice something different. I'm not sure how to explain it. The love of the family seems a tiny bit more accepting and I wish he could be around that love more a little more often.

One more veggie tale might help clarify my muddled thoughts. I bought a bag of sweet Maui onions at Costco because I couldn't resist the price. We don't eat onions much – we use only one or two a year so it was dumb to buy four. When I got home and looked at the bag I felt sad that I don’t have family in the area. Because when it is family, you can stop by and drop off a couple of extra onions. And they will like and love you just the same (even appreciate the gesture) and not think you are strange. I want Jeep to have that "extra onion" type of acceptance in his life.

Some days I threaten to pack all we own and move in with my parents or in-laws. Maybe that closeness would give me instant roots, but it would also come with some significant trade-offs. What helps me the most is to be grateful for this moment. We have the love of our family and we connect through email, phone calls and visits as often as we can manage it. We are blessed with great and growing friendships here in town as well as special friends around the world. This place offers satisfying jobs for my husband and me plus spectacular care for our boy. So while I'm still not sure how to grow roots (or what that means or if it is important), today I am thankful for a rich harvest.

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