Roots are the people, places, and experiences that have made me feel connected to our American life and grounded me here the past 10 months. So here are my Austin roots...
Oh Town Lake! How I love thee! Watching the sunrise over the water during long runs with Leah, getting lost on the not-so-good side of I-35, enjoying Austin weirdness around every bend, walking the trail and chatting about life with Stancy, taking family pictures at nearby Barton Creek, counting turtles with Micah, making a long trek to P Terry's with our friends Troy & Stevi with all 6 of our children in tow.
Oh Camp Gladiator! The reason I can again wear pants that don't rely on elastic. A high school friend of mine won the TV show American Gladiators and now owns & operates a boot camp here in town. I got to participate in three sessions and really, truly did enjoy it. Meeting people, pressing physical boundaries, and getting in a fabulous workout before the buddies are even out of bed. 5:30 AM will never be as much fun again!
Oh Sonic! What a vice you are to me. Diet Dr. Pepper with vanilla, easy ice. With America's favorite drive-in right next door to my pediatrician's office, I can neither confirm nor deny that I intentionally scheduled the majority of my kids' appointments during 1/2 price happy hour.
Oh friends! Childhood friends, new friends, all kinds of dear friends. Friends who really want to know you, even though you're not going to be here for a long time. Friends who are patient with you when your English sounds funny. Friends who visit you in the hospital when you have a baby. Friends who collect loads of baby gear for you so your don't have to spend an arm & a leg on kid junk. Friends who dig into their own closets when you admit to them that your entire fall wardrobe is in another country. Friends who watch your kids so you can pack without going insane (and then apologize to you when your kid throws up at their house!). Friends who throw you a going-away party and humor you by playing get-to-know-you games then entire time. Friends who include you. Friends who love you. Friends who are just dear, sweet friends.
Three moms, a gaggle of little boys, an Indian summer that has stretched into December.
It's what we call Cul-de-sac Happy Hour.
My childhood friends from the neighborhood all grew up, their parents moved away, and fresh, young families took over. I never would have guessed that these moms would become some of my favorite friends here. I guess that's what happens when you spend time together nearly everyday, hanging out, talking over the finer points of parenting, trying to keep your kids from pulverizing each other with rocks. Not to mention those other neighborly elements of grocery shopping for one another and borrowing a cup of flour.
Plus our kids just adore one another. Even Sam knows all the cul-de-sac pals by name. They climb trees, race scooters, collect acorns, drive the Gator, have races, go to each other's birthday parties, play with sidewalk chalk, and a million other little boy dreams. We're even going Christmas caroling on Thursday.
And the real heroes of it all... my parents!
Sharing your house with your grown child isn't an easy thing. Sharing your house with your grown child and her posse of pooping, screaming, and roughhousing littles is an even more difficult thing. How much clutter, noise, and chaos have these two put up with? The even have to repaint a wall in the kitchen from all the meal remnants that kids deposited there over time. Though the house might be a little quieter and a little cleaner after we've shipped out, I know those choice moments of connecting with the kiddos will be missed.
Morning iPad time with Pop
Watching the evening news & football games with Pop
Sandwich hugs before bed
These aren't traditions you can build with grandparents during a weekend visit. My parents have been woven into the tapestry of our family in ways that are so unique and precious. There was once a time that I feared they wouldn't accept or even love Micah & Sam because they aren't our biological children. That notion is entirely laughable now after seeing G & Pop love on those kiddos while we've lived here.
The reason that these gifts have been so good is that they have come from a very good Giver. So as these roots are pulled up and replanted, I'll keep trying to trust in His goodness. Meanwhile, all that's left to do is be thankful.