Roots and Wings


‘Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.’ Dalai Lama

It seems that in our life, we are always multi-tasking with today’s advice.  With 15 years between the oldest and the youngest in our clan, our path through parenting has kind of been like a nice tight ball of silly putty that you make soft and pull into a really long string. It gets a little messy sometimes but we would never want it to be any other way. Together my husband and I have learned, re-learned, and unlearned together these basic tenets of wings and roots and reasons to stay.

Our oldest gained his wings years ago- moving out of the family home and into a rental house with his buddies. Other than a few trips to the ER for stitches and x-rays due to drunken boy wrestling behaviors he has done very well stretching his wings.  June 1st however, will find him homeless.  (He and his roommate are waiting for a suitable rental to open up near the university they attend and so far nothing has caught their eye.)

Last week he called with his typical ‘Hey Momma, what’s up?’ opener that he always uses on me. After I greeted him and returned the question he was quick to get to the point. ‘Is it alright if I move home for a month?’ I could hear a lot going on in the background and could tell he was busy doing something else as the question left his lips. I loved what this meant. He wasn’t really paying all that much attention to me, because he knew what the answer was going to be before he even asked. The whole ‘Hey Momma, what’s up?’ phone call was just a formality- he had roots in our home and he knew this. He was just giving us the courtesy of posing his homecoming as a question rather than a statement.

There was so much about our short interaction that was meaningful to me. We are an evolving family- we are all stretching our wings all the time. Our growth takes us in different directions, but our roots lead us back to our source. That being said, wings and roots don’t work if the desire to be together is not there. It is up to each one of us to give one another reasons to stay.

Our son’s phone call captured every part of today’s quote beautifully- he had his wings, and he knew his roots, and he had his reason to stay. (Of course, after a few weeks of re-acquainting himself with the antics of living under the same roof as his 8 year old brother, his wings may quickly overcome his reasons to stay!!)

Such gentle wisdom the Dalai Lama offers us with this simple reminder that we must give not just roots and wings to the ones we love, but also reasons to stay.