roots

“Know from whence you came”
James Baldwin
You’re all grown up or so you say. You’ve come really far from the scrawny 12 year old you used to be. Even some of your biggest fears as a teenager seem to have paled in comparison to your concerns now. You’re a big shot with a great job, you have medals and letters after your name, a long curriculum vitae, a rock on your left hand or some really big muscles 🙂 Whatever the case may be- I wish for you to never forget where you came from. The experiences and people who made you what you are and in some cases, gratefully what you avoided becoming.
Where I come from..
My sister and I wore the same outfit as often as my mom could find the same one in both sizes.
Mom picked us up off the bus every single day. Sometimes when we got off the elevator on the 2nd floor we could smell the chocolate chip cookies she baked for an afterschool snack.
My sandwiches were carefully halved, crust removed. Thursdays were deli sandwich days 🙂 and always a love note from her.
We sat at the dinner table every night talking about our days, who we were mad at and avoiding our peas if we could.
We greeted our dad when he came home from work-running to the door “The hunk is home!” kissing and hugging him after a long day.
Sleepovers at grandmas meant ice cream malteds, custard and making my very own playdough from scratch, staying up too late and having stability contests standing on my grandpa’s knees. Jumping in the leave piles poppy spent hours carefully gathering. Playing on the plastic tire swing or the dollhouse that he built.
Friday nights meant pizza and a movie, that we walked to the store to rent, with our 80 year old neighbor Bess. Her son wore a cowboy hat every single time he came to visit. He was from Manhattan, why he wore that hat always boggled my mind.
Sharing a room with my sister, sleeping in bunk beds-but usually that meant sharing my twin size mattress when she crawled up to tell me she had nightmares and wanted me to hold her hand.
Girls didn’t call boys. If i called to speak to someone in my class, I would have to announce the fact that i was returning so and so’s call about homework. (Thanks mom for this complex about initiating with men 😉
I was raised to say please and thank you and sorry when I was wrong.
If you’re going to do something, do it right.
Summer days spent sitting by the pool in our complex, weasling out as many snacks from the snack bar we could get. If it was a good day, mom and the others would forfeit cooking and order up to the pool. After our showers we’d rush outside to the sound of Mr. Softie coming down the block, begging for a few more minutes of hang time while mom called us from the window.
The change of seasons meant a new wardrobe at Kids R Us & Kohl’s- spending $ we didn’t have so we could keep up with friends.  My mom was lucky my dad’s patience was unmatched, hours of fetching sizes and putting clothes back on hangers.
The smell of sliced sugar cookies with either reindeer or Santas at Christmas time while we decorated the tree and listened to music on the 5 cd changer. This was a strategic process. The tree was to be properly shaped, the lights strung around every single branch, and then the four of us could decorate with ornaments.
Staying in pajamas all day when we were sick. My dad making the sign of the cross on whatever “hurt”, our bellies, our heads. He used to take our feet between his hands and rub them together to warm them up.
Doing the happiest snow day dance when we heard we were off, putting on umpteen layers of clothes and playing until it was time to thaw out and drink hot chocolate.
My parents didn’t have a sprawling house or more than one car.  I can remember them food shopping together and folding laundry. They took one vacation without us, for one weekend not until we were teenagers.
Never, ever leaving the house or ending a phone call without saying I love you.
Regardless of your “now” do your best to remember your roots. Remember those who put in years raising you, loving you, teaching you what they could. Crying with you, mending a boo boo, wishing the best for you. Protecting and punishing you-just doing their best.
Thank them. 
Without your roots you could not grow.
Know from whence you came.
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