Roots and Trees and Families
This is something that I’ve been thinking about writing for a while. But of course I’ve been “busy” (I am busy, lol, but I also know that we choose to be busy and we choose what we find time for!) so I haven’t written it until now. I’m inspired in part by an assignment I’m working on for my sociology class; a family genogram. And I was further inspired and motivated when I read a post over at a blog I just discovered called When Your History Won’t Be Shared.
In a lot of ways I’m a pretty laid-back mom. Well, my parenting style is laid back. I don’t expect my kids to get the best grades in class. I don’t care if they are the highest goal scorer on the soccer team or if they win every kung fu competition. I just want them to be happy and have friends and enjoy childhood while they can. I don’t want them to grow up too fast. I want them to have a stable home life and I want them to remember one home for their whole childhood. We moved to our little city when DS#1 was almost 4 years old. We haven’t moved since and despite occasional daydreams about moving somewhere warmer, we have no intention of moving anytime. Seriously, not.any.time.ever. Because I never had a childhood home. I moved and moved and then moved some more. I lived in over 30 houses before I was 20 by my estimates. I moved a few more times after that, but at least felt like I got some say in those moves. As soon as my husband and I were married I pushed for us to buy a house because I knew I needed that stability. And then when our oldest was close to school age we knew we needed a forever home, because once they were in school I wasn’t going to be budging. I wanted roots. The kind that twine and tangle and grow together and grow deep and make a group of people and a place into a family and a home.
I’m 37 years old and I still sometimes have nightmares where I can’t remember what house a particular bedroom I slept in fits into. I honestly can’t actually remember the details of half the houses we lived in, just a few disjointed memories from each. The houses themselves weren’t the problems of course, the houses and the moves were just the outward representations of all the changes our family was constantly going through. My dad was working=new house. My dad lost a job=new house. My parents divorced=new house. My mom decided to go back to school=new house. And on and on. When I was halfway through high school my mom got remarried and wanted me to move yet again. I ended up not having a choice, of course, but I fought hard to be able to stay in the same school despite moving 45 minutes away into a new school division. Some subterfuge had to be involved but thank goodness it worked out, because it helped me get through a couple of bad years. On that note I’ll just say the remarriage was a very bad thing for all involved.
So anyway, I’ve focused on having my home be the place of stability I need and that my children need. I think of the house as being the place the roots begin I guess. But sometimes I think maybe I’ve gotten so caught up in my pursuit I’ve missed a piece of the puzzle. My problem wasn’t that my house changed all the time, well it wasn’t the only problem anyway. The problem was that our whole life was unstable. And I provide a warm and stable home for my boys, but I’ve missed out on giving them a sense of family I think sometimes. I didn’t realize that while a building could have a lot of meaning for someone with my experiences, for my children in their safe, happy lives, it’s just a building. Maybe when they are grown they will see it as the haven I already do, but I don’t really know. What does it take to make a family tree with strong roots? Am I missing something?
Image © Laurie Mapp, Laurie Runs Life, 2012