Thursday, November 21, 2013

Staying Put





Not too long ago. I was helping my friend K, get ready for a going-away party for her son who was going to Japan to teach for a year. As I hung lights in the tree, preparing for the party, I thought about the good times we have had in her backyard over the years. Our kids practically grew up together so from Pocahontas and Pokemon parties, to First Communion and graduation parties, we’ve covered them all. 

As night fell and the party went into its second hour, I stood beneath that tree and took in the whole scene before me.  I heard the laughter from the guests and saw their familiar faces, friends connected to us by both joy and tragedy.  I saw all the faces of the young adults, those kids we watched grow up, now just reaching adulthood, all so full of promise.  I stood there and felt the good solid weight of this life and all those years in this circle of friends, and I knew I was right where I belonged. 

Brian, that Certain Very Nice Man I date, asked me once if after I retire I would want to move some place new and different.  I immediately answered no.  “Sorry,” I said, feeling a bit stodgy and stick-in-the-mudish.  “But I really don’t see myself moving unless something pretty dramatic happens.” 


That night at the party, I suddenly saw my life as a Spirograph design.  Do you remember those sets of rings and geared disks?  You may have had one as a kid.  You pinned down the outer rings and then inserted a pen in one of the disks and made a design as you went around the ring.  By switching out circles, or switching holes, you could layer design upon design.

As I looked at the people at the party, and thought about all the history we share, I saw my life here as one beautiful pattern, one that would not have the depth nor the intricacy had I not made the choices I have made.  I am proud to provide "home base" for my kids.  I am happy knowing I'll still be here for many years.  I look forward to those parties at K's house someday in the future that, I'll just bet, include celebrating grandchildren.

I know the design of my life is not complete.  Oh no, not at all.  I have many more wheels to choose from, many more patterns to add.  

While there is adventure and romance in moving, there is also a beauty in staying put, in pinning your circle to a firm place, in choosing the colors of your design carefully, gracefully changing out the wheels when the time is right. 

I celebrate the opulent complexity of time spent in one place.


  

25 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is really profound, Betty. Never thought of it that way. (And yes, I did have a Spirograph.) But it's like ripples on a pond - we are all rocks and our ripples cross one another's.

Olga said...

I always said that I would not live in this house by myself, but since Mike died, I have been so surrounded by my supportive community that I am having serious second thoughts. There will be no quick decision.

Leah J. Utas said...

Well said, Betty. Home base.

Old Kitty said...

Awww BB! Your home is where your heart is and vice versa!! Yay for you! Take care
x

BECKY said...

Beautiful, profound words Betty....as always! Yes, I had a Spirograph, too, and loved it!

Dina Lettre said...

Well, it sounds like you are in a wonderful place, my friend!

Shelly said...

A perfect analogy, beautifully said.

Out on the prairie said...

I have lived in CA,CO,NE,IA and a summer in NY.I laughed when in other states and asked where I was from. I am in IA now at the farm, I had a chance to move to TX and gave it up at last moment thinking of what keeps me here, the land.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Beautiful! Knew I would find something good to read here when I saw your clever comment on Cranberry Morning!

Tabor said...

I have moved so much in my life that I do not have the wonderful ties that you do. I have not idea what the future will hold, but do not fear the new adventure of a move and starting over.

Madi and Mom said...

Hey...BB
We just love how you are so good at putting your feelings into words and comparing them to everyday life.

Baby steps are very important when you have been through what you have been through.

Hugs madi and mom

jenny_o said...

What a great analogy. I'm a homebody and sometimes feel pitied because I'm not gung ho to rush off to new places and things. You just made me feel so much better about my ties to this place!

Nat said...

You are the Master of analogy, Betty, another beautifully written post.
I hankered after a spirograph as a child - my best friend had one but I never did :-)

Mary said...

Hi Betty, I remember Spirograph too. I loved how you used it for your blog post .. how clever and creative! Be happy wherever you are, if that means Staying Put, that's fine. :-)

Hilary said...

I so recognize the truth in this. A huge part of me wanted to stay put, and part of my heart always will. It was very difficult to give up my home base to move to where I've just settled, with no real going back except for a visit. It will tug at my heart for a long time to come but I'm going to focus on the adventure part of this ticket. I hope that wherever you do settle, that you and Brian are at complete peace with your choices.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

As someone who's moved more times than I care to remember - and to several countries, I totally see where you're coming from. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be firmly rooted. It's wonderful to have the support and knowledge of not being alone. I like to move around but I'm definitely in the middle camp of seeing the positives in both! :) You've come a long way the last few years despite being in the same place, miss B!

Daisy said...

How lovely! What a neat way to look at it.

Ms. A said...

I feel pretty much the same way about staying put and providing a home base. A place that, when they slow down and think about it, my kids will know they can always find me... if they choose to look.

Pat Tillett said...

Brilliant! Talk about food for though! I think I know exactly what you are talking about from both ends of the spectrum.

annie said...


You get us thinking Betty and I appreciate it a lot.
""Hugs""

Gigi said...

As I am facing a move in a few days; this almost made me cry!

Luckily, I'm not moving far so I will still have my friends and family nearby. BUT, had I read this prior to our big move about 15 years ago, from Texas to here - I probably would have never left and wouldn't have all these roots and connections that we now have here.

Brian Miller said...

smiles...the cool thing about life is that you never know what it might bring...and you dont know what adventure might be just around the corner for you....

Brian said...

There's no place like home, there's no place like home! You and Dorothy are wise ones!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I know what you mean. I don't really like the climate where I live or the traffic or the high taxes, but I would miss the people and all the decades long experiences we've had together.

Baby Sister said...

I have never thought of it that way, but I have to agree. I'm one that would much rather stay where the memories are and friends and family are.