Pulling up roots hurts.
It’s a reality we face every time we move, and we find ourselves facing that pain once again, as we prepare to move back across country from Los Angeles to Kansas City.
The news came quickly, as it usually does. Christmas was three days away, and we were plunged into packing for a holiday road trip to Seattle. The road trip was adventure enough: a long drive up Interstate 5 through some spectacular country, stopping in cities we’d never visited and showing our two young boys a new slice of the world. The adventure only exponentially grew when the phone call came that my husband had been assigned to a new construction project back in the Midwest. They wanted him there mid-January.
We took deep breaths, opted to continue our Christmas plans and deal with the details of the move when we returned. Our foundational attitude through the whole thing: Life is short.
Now back in California, we relish the conversations with loved ones, lingering in the church parking lot for drawn-out goodbyes, gathering around our dinner table (the legendary piece of Purdue University furniture, a former lab table we bought for 50 bucks) for a final meal with friends, pounding down slices of lemon cake in the living room. We talk about home, where and what it looks like. I say if moving so much has taught me anything, it’s that “home” is not a question of where you find yourself but who you find yourself with. We talk about what it means to bloom, digging hard and fast into a community as soon as we settle into it, because lingering over tough goodbyes when it’s time to yank up those roots is so much more worth the pain than having no good-byes to say at all. One friend comments that it takes a lot of risk and courage to so wholeheartedly immerse yourself somewhere when you know that “somewhere” is not permanent. We say we have no choice; it’s simply what we must do.
So now comes the tough week. The good-byes have started. The list-making is well underway. Among the book of lists are titles like, “Stuff to clean,” “People to call,” “Things to take with us.” Under the list, “Things to take with us” (identifying those items not to be handled by the moving company) is the ivy plant, which my mom gave to me 10 years ago following the death of my Uncle Ron. She clipped a budding green sprig from his casket at his funeral, rooted it in water and planted it in good soil. The thing has survived six moves and six states. The vines are strong and happy now, twisting and growing and sprouting new leaves all the time.
Those old roots are my inspiration now. As I anticipate the new soil we will soon be sinking ourselves into, I can only look forward with a bright anticipation. Back in the Midwest, we will reconnect with old friends, rekindle treasured relationships, and find new ways to immerse ourselves in the community we call home.
Home. With my Bryan and my boys. There is no place like it, no matter where that place is.