Our days in San Jose are down to the single digits and there is the predictable mix of emotions. Of course, excitement for the new house and some panic that we aren’t going to get it all done before Tuesday. But lying underneath it is also sadness for the friends we are leaving and affection for the great memories we have of San Jose and the time we spent here. We are definitely feeling uprooted – in limbo…no longer planted in San Jose but not yet planted in Burlingame.
My dad spent a great deal of energy teaching us kids about the natural world around us and how to be gentle, sympathetic and caring to plants and animals. There were the obvious teachings like “Don’t pull the cat’s tail – it hurts them!” but the more subtle, curiosity inducing, “I wonder how plants feel when it rains?” As a child, when I was helping my mom plant flowers in her flower beds, we would pull the small flowers from their plastic containers and I could hear their thread-thin roots snapping as I pulled them out. I couldn’t help but wonder what that felt like for the small plants. Clearly, Adult Me knows that plants don’t have nerves and don’t feel anything (right?) but Child Me always winces a little bit when I see a broken tree limb, or a snapped-off flower head.
And so, as we pack up our last boxes, take pictures off the walls, eat one last breakfast/lunch/dinner at our favorite local places, I can hear our own little thread-like roots breaking and snapping. And I don’t have to wonder if it hurts, because I know that it does. It’s hard to leave. San Jose is where we embarked on our first real adventure as a married couple, determined to “give this California thing a shot.” We also knew this is where we would start our family and “put down roots.”
Our time here was only seven years but our roots are snapping nonetheless. We will miss countless people, places and things – friends from Las Madres, friends from Explorer Preschool, priceless and wise nannies, the Rose Garden, the Norman Rockwell-ian tendencies of the neighborhood during all the holidays, the folksiness of Zanotto’s — But really, most of all, the roots that are hardest to hear snap are those of the friendships we are leaving behind – not that all those friendships will end (though some undoubtedly will as that’s just how it goes) but friendships are never the same when geography changes.
These early years of parenthood have been amazing but difficult. It did not come easy for us. Like all major obstacles in life, despite the emotional and physical pain one endures while getting over and through those challenging times, one can’t help but also form strong attachments to the people who got you through it. To the other moms who helped me navigate the transition to motherhood and the families who supported us through the early months of becoming a family of four – to all of you we are eternally grateful. I don’t know how we would have made it without you.
Yesterday, as I stood in the new house in what will be Mitchell’s room, looking out the window at the back lawn where he and Carter will play and cross off many of childood’s major milestones, the sound of roots snapping in my head subsided. And I started to imagine what those little transplanted flowers in my mother’s garden must have felt like after their roots snapped – wilted and bruised, but then their bare, raw roots were placed into the warm, wet earth, free to reach and extend as far as they wished.
We are uprooted but our new plot of earth is waiting for us and we are ready to dig in.