As long as I can remember, I recall feeling the need to put down roots. I don't know if it was because we moved a lot when I was young - we changed schools and churches a lot - or if there is some odd "homebody" gene in me, but it has been a constant desire of mine. I wanted for my kids to grow up in one house, go to one school, make lifetime friends, and have amazing traditions and memories.
Tucker, age 9, has lived in 4 states and 7 homes. Griffin, 7, has called 2 states and 4 houses home. Sissy, only 4, has lived in only one state, but 3 houses.
Somewhere in my impassioned plea for rootage, I realized something. I wasn't listening to my kids. I wasn't looking around at our lives and seeing what was right in front of me.
My kids first real memories are of New Orleans. Prior to that, they were young (Sis not even born), and while Tucker recalls Biloxi and some of his friends, homeschool co-op, and our church, I think New Orleans was the first place he knows as "home".
The Audubon Zoo.
The French Market.
Cafe du Monde.
The library on St. Charles.
The New Orleans Saints!
Memories. Traditions. We started a few years ago going to Cafe du Monde on Christmas Eve morning and then we'd stroll around, shopping. This past year the kids kept telling me how much they missed that. And Mardi Gras -- there is just no other place to be than in The Crescent City than on Fat Tuesday. And the weeks leading up to it -- the kids know the parades by name and Tucker has the routes mapped out...Bacchus, Endymion, Muses...."Bacchus rolls on Sunday, mom!" -- what other kids speak like that, other than those growing up in The Big Easy?!
So all along, we were putting down roots. We were making traditions. My kids felt grounded.
I just didn't know it.
One of my favorite verses is "Be still, and know I am God."
I have always had such trouble being still. Listening. Really hearing what is around me, until it has passed and it is too late. I feel sometimes like my kids grew up so quickly -- I wish that I had savored more of their infancy and toddlerhood. I wish I had nursed them just one.more.time. Or held them a little tighter. Danced with them more. Sang to them (because Lord knows now they critique my singing!)
Which is why I don't mind when they find their way into my bed in the night, or when they need a little extra snuggle after a bad day.
And my root issues? Well, I'm going to pray that I will be smart enough from now on to pay attention when the roots are already there -- even if I can't see them. I may not see them with my eyes, but I can hear them in the voices of my children when I hear their conversations. I can feel them when I'm driving a familiar route, seeing a familiar scene, and hearing a familiar sound.
The sneaky thing about roots is that they are underground, so you can't see them. You just have to have faith that they are there, deep and strong.
I guess you could say you just have to be still, and know...