Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Rooted

By military brat standards, I didn’t really move that often as a kid. I was born at an Air Force hospital in Omaha (Offut AFB). We moved when I was a few months old to Ludlow, MA, where my dad was stationed at Westover AFB. At nearly 4, it was on to the Pentagon. At nearly 9, we moved to Hawaii and Hickam AFB. Then it was back to the Pentagon when I was nearly 13. Before we could move two years later to Ohio and the glorious Wright-Patterson AFB, my parents divorced. My father would finish up his career by staying in Ohio three years, and then doing his final gig from Travis AFB in California.

Like I said, by military brat stands, I was not particularly nomadic. I went to six different schools, being the new kid at a school in first, fourth, fifth and eighth grades. I lived in eight different houses until I went away to college. My moving around continued for a few years post-college, as I went to San Diego, then Boston, then San Diego again, and then San Francisco.

My husband, deeply rooted in Manchester, England, lived in the same house until he left as an adult to make his own way. And what was his way? It was to Asia, spending time working in northern China, in Beijing, in Hong Kong, in Malaysia, and then heading to the U.S. Since leaving England in his 20s, he’s never lived there again.

I lived my early years as a transplant, never putting my roots in so deep that they couldn’t be (fairly) easily pulled out and planted somewhere else. For my husband, it was the first part of adulthood that he acted the transplant. Both of us, reaching our mid-thirties, chose the stationary route.

The rooted route is the one we’re both on now. For more than 10 years, we have moved just twice. We have lived in our current house for nearly six years. We have planted trees, and we have stayed around to mark their growth. We have seen a deck that my husband built change as it weathers. We have no intention of uprooting our lives and the lives of our children.

My kids will not know the excitement of starting over until they are adults. But they also won’t know the fear that went along with it. They won’t know the awkwardness of being the new kid. They won’t know that loneliness. Unlike me, they won’t have the 117-word answer to the oft-asked question, “Where are you from?” They can answer in one word. Unlike me, they’ll recognize their childhood home. They’ll have a hometown. They’ll have looming trees they helped plant. Exciting? Maybe not. But I find it rather inviting.

[Written for the Sunday Scribblings prompt “Rooted.”]

13 comments:

~Kathryn~ said...

we moved 14 homes till now (not military family - just bad luck in rental homes)
while all close by to each other - still had to change schools and i remember that feeling ...
my partner on the other hand lived in the same home all his life

Crafty Green Poet said...

I lived in the same house from six months until I was 18 and my parents still live in that same house. I can't imagine moving loads of times as a child....

Matthew said...

Your story reminds me of my father who was uprooted many times during childhood. (Navy brat)Maybe in reaction, he has moved little as an adult. Which means that my roots have had the time and temperature to spread in the same locale.

Jone said...

How lucky for your kids to be in one place. As I teacher, I see a lot if kids uprooted by the lives of their parents.

colleen said...

We do tend to adjust to what we are born into, with nothing to compare it to, it feels normal. I got a shiver on the paragraph where you talked about rooting now. I guess I am emotional about being deeply rooted. Although it's too expensive and crowded for me to ever want to go back to Massachusetts...plus as you know my kids are rooted here in Virginia. We just passed the 15 year mark in our home. So now I've lived here longer than my childhood home (15 years).

tricia stirling said...

i love the picture of your home. it looks like the kind of place where one would want to root down.

DJPare said...

Not that it sounds like you didn't like your childhood, but it's nice to see that you are keeping your kids from living the parts that weren't so great about it.

P.S. You didn't miss much by being too young to know Ludlow, MA...

Regina Clare Jane said...

Maybe that's why I am such a homebody- I remember feeling so rooted and grounded as a kid growing up. My dad built our house on the same block as the house he grew up in- he never left except for the time he was in the army. I wonder whether it would have been better for him to move just a little further away...
Life is funny, sometimes... what holds us, what draws us... what gives us roots and what make sus want to wander...
A beautiful post...

Tammy said...

What a gift for your children. They will be given firm roots but know of other places from their parents.

forgetfulone said...

I lived in the same home all my life, although sometimes I wished I could be the new kid at school. Thank you for sharing your experience with me.

Shelby said...

This is a great post. My hubby was raised an AF brat -- his dad retired at Tinker AFB in OKC..

Ally Bean said...

It's interesting how you've experienced both styles of life, rooted and moving. It seems to me that you may of had the best of both worlds! Good take on this prompt.

InlandEmpireGirl said...

Thanks for the kind words on my blog. I feel blessed to live at my homestead. I have not moved much my whole life so your piece gave me a whole new perspective on the word... your words are beautiful.

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