Miles From Fenway

A Daughter’s Version
August 29, 2006, 8:13 pm
Filed under: family

My mother often quoted a saying to me as I was growing up. “I wish for you two things, to give you roots, to give you wings”.

It wasn’t until I left home that I realized how much conflicting emotion was contained in that sentence. Roots run deep, and serve to keep you grounded. Roots support you, they sustain you, they bring you life. Wings serve to lift you up, to help you travel, to let you fly. The two are as opposite as they could possibly be.

In theory, having both seems like a terrific idea. And my parents succeeded. They gave me the foundation to know myself. To feel secure enough with who I was and where I wanted to go, to use my wings and find my own way. My roots gave me wings.

But in practice, even 8 years after leaving home, being in possession of both roots and wings can feel like both a blessing and a curse. When things go wrong at home I feel guilty for not being there. But when things go right here, when my mother says she’s proud of me, when she tells me my dad told a story about me to his coworkers, I am elated that I’ve done right by them. They’re proud that I’ve moved to New York and have made it on my own. And when things go wrong here, all I want in the world is a hug from my mother, and again the conflicting emotions begin. Shouldn’t I be old enough to not want to run home to mommy every time something goes wrong? But who would I be without her? And how do you undo 18 years when every bump, every bruise, every broken heart, every bad grade, every disappointment was met with a comforting embrace?

And I know that the same things happen with my parents. I know that they are happy for me, and excited that I’m doing what I always dreamed of. But I know too that it’s hard for them that I’m not around. That they miss me daily. And it shows in the fights my mother and I have when I don’t come home often enough. Or when I do come home and try to balance my family time with the time I spend with my childhood friends I don’t get to see often. It shows in the daily phone calls. In the emails. In the half-hour long cuddle sessions that occur the minute I walk in the door of my parent’s house.

And that’s where my roots are. In a small town in Rhode Island. My wings serve as freedom. The freedom to fly back to those roots whenever I so choose.

Mom, Dad – I miss you and love you.

This post inspired by an article my mother sent me this afternoon. My little brother, my only sibling, started college last Saturday. This article, from the Boston Globe, is apparently exactly the way my mom feels. Read it, it’s very well written.


3 Comments so far
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Beautiful post.

The only thing I could think of when I read it, specifically the reference to ‘roots and wings’ was that part in Sweet Home Alabama.

I’ve seen that movie so much I could recite it with the sound muted.

And it’s also the subject of a post I’ve been wanting to draft lately, but haven’t actually sat down to work on.

Comment by Miss Browneyedgirlie

It’s funny how we’re all so excited to leave home, and yet miss it so much at the same time. I can only imagine how hard it was for my mom to send my twin brother and me off to college at the same time. From 2 to none.

Comment by Esther

Hey i read your post and thought what a great post. Then reading the article actually gave me a chill realizing that t hose kids were going to Roger Williams. It might sound weird but it someone made me realize how great of a time that was and how lucky those of us who got to go away to college really are.

Comment by Ari

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