Poems & Essays

12 May

Blooming Where I’m Planted–Honorable Mention

General/Column No Response

I became a mother in a city I hardly knew. My husband and I moved to a tiny apartment on a palm-tree lined street when I was seven months pregnant. When the baby came, I felt like a dandelion seed in a tempest, flailing for a place to land.

I crossed into motherhood in a place where my roots were mere tendrils, barely tethered to the ground. However, as my baby grew taller, my network grew stronger. Strangers from church dropped off dinners and left as friends. I made small talk with other women as we pushed our babies on the swings. On morning walks, babies snoozing in strollers, we confided in each other and cemented friendships.

Los Angeles became home. I knew the freeways and food trucks. Memories were etched on the sidewalks and buildings—the gym where the baby took his first steps, the ocean bluffs my husband and I walked the day before our baby arrived, the restaurant that served perfectly formed, tiny octopuses on toast.

I didn’t realize how much I’d come to love my home until I was again uprooted. My husband graduated, and we moved to Washington for his career as a military dentist. Suddenly, I was immersed in rain, not sunshine, driving on more backcountry roads than freeways. We were assigned to this post for one year, and I was tempted to keep my heart curled close to itself, to wait out this season without growing attached. That way I wouldn’t again feel the pain of separation still pricking at me from leaving Los Angeles.

I decided to grow into that rich, unfamiliar soil and suck up every drop of nourishment. I decided to live here like it was forever, instead of for only a year. I loved this temporary home with my whole heart, and in it I have grown and blossomed. I’ve found a grandmother in the woman who leads our church choir. I learn about endurance three times a week as I run with two women my mom’s age, who both inspire me to keep my body healthy and the moments of every day in perspective. I’ve found friends to share my heart with over playdates and Legos.

I try to forget our approaching move date. I know as my roots are yanked free that I will leave pieces of myself behind. Doubts chase after me—is this nomadic lifestyle a mistake? I wonder about my children. Both will have lived in three states before the age of five. What will they remember as home?

I hope to teach them this: in order to grow, their hearts must tangle with people and places, even if it hurts to leave them behind. Being tentative yields withered leaves and stunted blossoms; only by burrowing deep may we bloom.

When we set our suitcases down in our new, empty home, thousands of miles from what we know and love, we’ll sink our feet into stability and stretch our arms to the sun.

 

 

Lorren Lemmons is a mama to two blue-eyed boys, a military wife, a nurse, a bibliophile, and a writer. This summer she is moving from Washington state to North Carolina. She blogs about books, motherhood, and her undying love for Trader Joe’s at When Life Gives You Lemmons (http://whenlifegivesyoulemmons8.blogspot.com). Her work has been featured in Tribe Magazine, Parent.co, Upwrite Magazine, Literary Mama, and the Good Mother Project.  You can find her on Twitter @LLtheStoryGirl

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