Roots and Shoots

The Next Family

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

I’ve been putting down roots… again.  It hit me today as coaxed a little basil plant out of its nursery pot, that even when I think I’m totally settled, I continue to root.   Sometimes these tendrils are as tentative and delicate as those slightly downy, white roots of the basil plant and other times, I’m a dandelion, strong and firm and fast.

This year marked the first that both of my children were out of pre-school.  They are big elementary school kids, now.  If you had asked me three years ago, I would have said that this transition was going to be a hard one —  like being yanked out of firm ground.  Instead, it has been a pleasure to see that we can grow in this new place.  We return to our pre-school often for fundraisers and classes and to visit friends and my kids delight in this familiarity.  If I’m allowed to continue with the plant metaphors, it’s the place where they “hardened off,” or learned to weather a tougher climate.

We are setting down roots at our new school and it is growing more familiar, more beloved.  Though the number of kids has tripled, my son and daughter seem to know everyone.  We run into friends at the park and the grocery store and hear shouted greetings as we drive the streets of our neighborhood.

At the risk of sounding like a flake, I feel like this is all helping me to become more rooted in who I am.  Because we don’t arrive on the earth with little tags reading, “direct sun, light water, fertilize monthly,” it sometimes takes a while to figure out exactly how to look after ourselves.  I think I might be finally starting to get it.  Some of it is counterintuitive: who would have thought that it’s exercise and not chocolate that makes me feel happier?  Some of it is a kind of no-brainer: more sleep will make me less tired.  I’m learning to breathe deeply when the kids shout, overlook even the most mammoth of dust bunnies and take time to read and rest and poke around in the dirt of my garden.

A little root here, a tendril there.  It’s spring.  Time to grow.

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