Roots

Sometimes if I’m not careful, my thoughts get away from me.  Lately, they’ve been getting away from me in the form of our decision to stay in one place.  Would it shock you to know that of all the places I’ve lived, I’ve been in and around Boston the longest?  Growing up, we were constantly moving thanks to the military.  As a really young child it was fine.  Then, as we got older it became tougher.  I started to notice other kids who had known the same groups since kindergarten.  I realized that I would never have the history or the importance of friendships that had lasted since grade school.  It also meant that I avoided problem solving because, after all, why mend a friendship when I would just be moving soon anyway?  I believe this has made it difficult for me as an adult to maintain friendships.  I am bad at the whole longevity thing which makes me sad.  It’s one area of my life where I am really bad at examining my behaviors for weak areas and fixing them.  Normally, one of my strongest abilities is that of analyzing myself for improvement.

But then, there are the incredible benefits of being a military kid.  I got to see the world.  I feel like I got to meet a whole range of people that most kids wouldn’t ever get to.  At the age of 10 I’d been all over Europe and the United States.  That was an incredible feeling.  Our family photo albums were littered with the kinds of backdrops you would normally find in small sections of albums reserved for a summer vacation.  I won’t lie, it’s pretty amazing to be able to say I’ve been to all the places I have.

Still, as I contemplate this enormous purchase we’re about to make, I think more about setting down our roots in this community.  Just around the corner is the Boys and Girls Club where our future kids will likely learn to swim one day.  Just down the street is the church (meeting house?) that Mr. Cookie and I have started attending (It’s a Unitarian Church and we love it for the intellectual stimulation and the sense of community).  Across Mass Ave is a bike path where we will have (and have had) many runs, walks, and bike rides.  Up the hill is the little elementary school where maybe I’ll cry as my children go to their first day of kindergarten and then again when they graduate into middle school.  It’s so exciting to think of settling down in one place for longer than a few years.

I wonder though, will our kids resent staying in one place as teenage me sometimes resented all the moving?  Will they wish we had taken them to see the world?  Will they grow tired of our bustling hamlet?  I hope not, but I feel like they might.  Perhaps that is part of being a teen- hating whatever your parents’ biggest choices were.  For those of you who stayed in one place as a kid, what was it like?

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Erika said,

    I grew up in one town–my biggest move was all of 2.5 miles to a different elementary school zone. While I certainly appreciate being able to go to my high school reunion and seeing people I’ve known since preschool I can’t say it made me any less of an outsider when I actually was in high school (or middle school or elementary school…). I think that’s very much a personality thing–those kids who click with the people they meet, do, and those who don’t, don’t, regardless of how long you’ve known them. I certainly wish I’d seen more of the world as a kid (although family vacations did take me to a number of North American locations) but that’s just because I’m now a person who likes to travel.

    In terms of what it was like, well, I couldn’t wait to graduate and leave town and go to college out of state. But I like where I grew up because it was a good place to be a kid and my parents helped me find things I enjoyed doing and we were lucky enough to be able to afford those hobbies.

    So basically I think you make a life for your kids that is a good mix of comfort and out-of-comfort-zone experiences because we all need to feel safe and challenged in order to grow. And no matter which choices you make, they’ll resent parts of it and be grateful for others and which parts those are in some ways doesn’t matter and in other ways simply depends on the personality of the kid, which you can’t in any way plan for until you meet them.


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