I live with my husband and our three children in Southeastern Pennsylvania. We have lived here for about four and a half years. For the six years before that, we lived in my husband's hometown. All of our children were born in the same hospital as my husband. Our house was maybe three miles from his mom; his two sisters were even closer. His grandparents were about two miles away from us; aunts, uncles and cousins--all within four miles.
My family? We're a little more scattered. I grew up in South Carolina, in the same town where my parents grew up. After I finished high school, my family moved to Tennessee, and now my brother and my parents are still in Tennessee. I have one grandparent and an aunt and cousin still in South Carolina, but I haven't lived there since 1988. I don't really keep in touch with anyone from high school (facebook...eh, it just doesn't do it for me), and I don't really feel like I have a "hometown."
So for over four years now, I've been feeling a little lost. I've been trying to make a home for us--not just a house that we live in, but a place in the world for us where we feel that we truly belong. The hard part, for me, at least, is that making a home requires building connections and relationships with other people--people in the neighborhood, in the community, in the schools, etc. And I have really resisted this part of putting down roots. I don't know why. When Rob was unemployed last summer, he looked for jobs back in New Jersey. The idea of moving just filled me with dread. Transplanting whatever shallow roots we'd created here in Pennsylvania seemed awful.
But living here with only shallow roots hasn't been especially rewarding for me either.
So I made a decision--to bloom where I'm planted. To encourage my roots to grow deeper.
Ironically, one of the places where I feel I've grown the most is right here online. The blogging community has allowed me to find endless inspiration and to "meet" many wonderful women. I hope it's okay that I consider you my friends. I feel a sense of community here, and I want to put more of myself out here. I hope to write more thoughtful pieces here this year in addition to sharing the crafty fun and the perennial laundry struggles. I want to learn more about you, too, so I'll be commenting more instead of just lurking.
Don't worry, there is plenty of interaction with actual, real-time people going on, too. I'll share more of that later. Right now, I have a little story for you.
It's about family heirlooms.
My mom's mother passed away a few years ago. Last April, we went to South Carolina to visit my grandfather. While I was there, my mom gave me some of my grandma's old books.
Not only are they useful, they are full of treasures. Grandma liked to tuck things away in her cookbooks. Here is the program from my elementary school's Christmas show when I was in the third grade.
My mom has claimed Grandma's main cookbook for herself, and rightly so. It has the most treasures hidden in it. But over Christmas, Mom brought me this:
It was written by eight-year-old me. I immediately put it in one of my favorite cookbooks.
And then I showed my mom one of the treasures that I had tucked away into that same book:
I love that my family has generations of women who stash away letters, programs, even scraps of paper from everyday life. I hope that my daughters will do this one day. To me, this is the making of a family heirloom. It is the "putting down" of roots. It is the beginning of blooming--wherever we may be planted.