adoption from China, death of children, deep roots, hope, lemon tree, lemonade, loss of job, new community
It is surreal to know that we have lived in our new community for a little over a year now. I remember the conversation we had in October of 2010, when Blaine first learned that he had been ‘let go.’
And though he was given an 18-month temporary position, 18 months seemed an eternity. Surely he would find something in Winston-Salem or the Greensboro area. There was no way we would have to move! The conversations became even more anxiety-producing as time slipped on: How would we be able to live anywhere else; how could we leave our friends in Winston-Salem who are family to us; how could we find a school like the Downtown School; how would anyone ever understand our ‘story’ and accept that we are trying to live a ‘normal life.’ Those were the biggies for us.
But life did change. I told someone recently that when you’ve been given so many lemons in life you have two choices: You can let the lemons sour your life or you can learn to make some really good lemonade. Maybe even good enough to share with others.
Hope and I were in Winston-Salem most of last week for the best day camp program in the city: Camp Oonie Koonie Cha. It’s a music camp and this was Hope’s fourth and final year; she was a senior. While there we stayed in the homes of three very special friends: One whom I’ve known since Andy was 3 and our children were in play group together; a couple who are the parents of Wes’s first and only date, which was just two nights before the accident; and a family who also have a daughter who is adopted from China and one of Hope’s best friends.
Just typing this story jars memories of my two sons…and my daughter. I had not thought about how those three sets of friends are so profoundly connected to each of my three children.
The roots go deep.
When you visit a city you’ve lived in for almost 32 years, you are more than likely going to see someone you know almost everywhere you go. A jogger running up a hill—one of Boy Scout Troop 911’s assistant scout masters. Hope’s group leader at camp—the daughter of one of Blaine’s best tennis buddies. One of the camp’s music teachers—a Cub Scout den leader who served under Blaine when he was Cubmaster of Pack 909.
A former neighbor who knew Wes and Andy very well co-owns a beautiful stationery/gift shop. I needed to stop by to check on the ABMGT (Andy Burton Memorial Golf Tournament) thank you notes, and she graciously wrapped a bowl, a wedding gift, that I had been frantically searching for a box in which to wrap it. It was from Ikea, not her shop.
The roots go very deep.
While trying to get a little exercise on Wednesday morning, I met a couple whom I recognized from a distance. Another Cub Scout den leader and a very involved dad. Their son is now grown and doing well in his chosen career path.
I was able to work at Mt. Tabor church one morning, logging onto my laptop through their network, to create a document to advertise an event for the women of our new church in our new community. (Thank you Mt. Tabor staff!) It took a while to get started as I saw so many old faces and we needed a few minutes (more like an hour) to catch up.
When I go back to Winston-Salem, I am always at home. Yet I also consider our new community very much home.
That lemon tree’s roots are spreading deeper and wider. Come sit on our porch sometime friends, no matter where you are from. I will make the lemonade very sweet.