I took the kids to the library yesterday. Something we do fairly regularly. We sometimes just go get books and get out and other times like yesterday we take advantage of the huge bean bags and sit and read. Yesterday we were there for at least an hour. Owen was able to empty several shelves in that time. One of the books we read was Our Tree Named Steve. Anna really likes the illustrator of this book so that is what drew her eye to it.
This book had a very unexpected effect on me. Floods of memories of each place we have lived came to me as I read this book about a family and their tree. Then I lost it, my voice was cracking, the tears were flowing, the nose was running, and Anna was staring at me like I'd gone crazy. She couldn't for the life of her understand what was so sad about this book. While the book in itself is sad to me given other circumstances in life I probably wouldn't have cried. Beau read the book when we'd finished because he wondered what was so sad and he too thought I was nuts. He said, "that was not worth crying about mom."
However for me, there has been a tree of sorts in every place we have lived, as we get ready to move again, I thought of all those trees I left behind and more specifically what I'm leaving behind here. Those things in each place I've called home that are always there, that I drive past daily or look out my house windows or played with my kids on or around.
Here there is so much that is that "tree" because this is where our family really solidified. Where we could count on dad walking in the door at 5, where I knew most of the teachers and staffs names, where church was home. This house we built from the ground up. We were told by some that Ben and I couldn't survive getting out of the army and building a house in the same year, but not only did we survive we became stronger, we fell more in love. We learned to parent as a unit rather than individually with him coming and going all the time. We grew to appreciate eachother's strengths and weaknesses and step up for the others shortcomings. Our family is solid. We planted our own trees, several died...two poplars are growing great out back, and one maple I'm pretty sure is dead (Ben said I was crazy planting it, but I did anyway). I will miss watching these trees grow to provide the shade we had dreamed of. The swing set that has seen hours of kids fun and imagination, that blew over in a huge windstorm, so now is concreted into the ground. The rocks that I moved one by one from where the house now is over to where we created a fire pit where we have spent hours watching the flames and the stars and the kids poke sticks in or roast marshmallows. I will miss our life here and while we can always come visit it will never be the same. So while we don't have a tree named Steve, I have my own things that have come to mean home and comfort and stability and most importantly LOVE, that is what has grown here by leaps and bounds. Ben has left many times in the past but this time is so much harder for me, while I can't wait for what the future holds and I know that Atlanta is the place where we are meant to be going, I am mourning saying goodbye to the things and I haven't even mentioned the friends and community we have here. The journey our life has taken us has covered many places but I wouldn't change any of it and I look forward to the life Ben and I and the kids have before us even if it means shedding a few tears in the library on the way there.