Monday, January 4, 2010

Bloom Where You Are Planted

I've been thinking a lot about that phrase, "bloom where you are planted." To be honest, I'd never heard it until a year or so ago (whenever Erin made that wonderful quilt with the saying on it). But it's such a good idea, and it really rings true for me--mostly because I feel like I've not been blooming. Let me 'splain...

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 (, 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.


larissa said...

LOVE this post! and I feel the same way. I'm a city girl who lives in the rural country - which happens to be on the opposite coast from all of our family. Just like your family, our family's roots are put down in tradition rather than location. I love how your grandma tucked treasured papers into cookbooks - kept the papers safe and she'd get to revisit them when looking for a recipe. and great how you're doing the same. I love your coupon hearts from the last post - I may just borrow that idea for a Valentine's gift for my kiddos - if that's okay?

stitching under oaks said...

Meg, I love this post. It's awesome how you shared your heart....I'm sure that your roots will sink in deeply now that you've made the decision to bloom where you're planted. I don't think we're too far away from each other. I'm central MD...hmmmmm. Anyways, I love the tucked away notes and memories. Those go with you where ever home is...Happy New Year!

Meredith said...

I am so glad that you are my blog friend and thus, a part of my daily community!! Happy New Year...

(In my mom's recipe box, one of the recipes is on the back of a letter someone sent to her congratulating her on the new baby on the way...which was me:-) Love those treasures.

julia said...

I consider you a friend as well Meg...I hope that that is OK too.

And I am excited to get to know you better. This truly is a wonderful group of girls we have here in our spaces and I feel that if we all lived closer, that we would have weekly gatherings just to chat.

Hugs, Julia

PS I love the treasures that you uncovered.

Journeying Five said...

what a great post, sometimes it is very hard to bloom where you are planted because we are afraid of what may come. your are special though and have something to offer that no one else does!

Amy said...

thank you for sharing all that Meg - beautiful post.

Kathleen said...

One of my favorite things about this blogging world is the way the right words seem to fall into my lap, just when I need them.
I'm sitting here, wondering what my word of the year might be for this year full of new beginnings - new town, new home, new school for the kiddos, new job for the husband, new free time for me...
and blooming here, where I've been planted, seems like just the right idea.

Kristyn Knits said...

oh meg. your thoughts have been my thoughts many times over the past few years! (you just put them to paper.) I too need to find new areas to bloom and add my bloom to a garden of new relationships. best wishes to you as you begin a new year digging deep roots.

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!