noun/ plural noun: roots. the part of a plant which attaches it to the ground or to a support, typically underground, conveying water and nourishment to the rest of the plant via numerous branches and fibres; the basic cause, source, or origin of something.
My roots are deep but spread in Oxfordshire, Devon and Canada.
I was born in Henley. My parents were young and newly weds – my Dad was a farm manager and had to be married to take on the job so they were married at 18 and 21, they had me at 20 and 23, then my sister a year later. They moved to Devon when I was 3 years old so although I have memories of the farm where I spent my early years, they are a bit blurry. My childhood memories are mainly around growing up at Hollyoak House, my home from the age of 5 to 18.
I was brought up in North Devon and my parents have lived there most of their adult lives, as has my sister. Going ‘home’ is driving down the M4, the M5 and heading to Exmoor. I have done the drive home so many times over the last 22 years since I moved out to go to uni, to live in Kent and then London. When I need to revisit my roots it is going back to my parents’ farm and going for a walk on the North Devon coast that grounds me.
I left London after 12 years of living there because I was keen to buy a house and couldn’t afford what I wanted there, I was also ready for a step change in how I led my hectic urban life. I went for jobs in Bristol to be closer to home, but ended up in South Oxfordshire. Ironically I now live 30 minutes away from where I was born. When Mum and Dad came to stay, we had a nostalgic day of rediscovering their old haunts. They told me stories of people I could not remember and showed me our old house, they revisited their roots.
We have family roots in Canada too, as my maternal grand parents emigrated there. My Mum was born there but came back to the UK when she was 9. We have family and family history in Ontario and I have an affinity to the country. My best friend has since emigrated out there so I visit often, we have explored some of my family history together and we visited some of my distant family. A few years ago I went to visit my maternal grandfather’s grave as I never had the opportunity to meet him when he was alive. There was an odd sense of going home, returning to my roots as I stood there at his grave.
My family roots are strong. I have firm foundations. I have a strong support network around me. My roots are an anchor which keep me grounded, they keep me strong and they keep me standing. My roots make my core strong.
“There are two gifts we should give our children, one is roots, the other is wings”. Anon
I am blessed to have been given both roots and wings by my parents. I have a homing device which returns me to my family when I need them or when they need me, but I also have the wings on which to explore the world. I have adventured and travelled lots, but I always come home, to my roots.
My family roots are also our family values. We are not a religious family but we had strong values and principles instilled in us as children, we have an unwritten protocol of how we behave. These values have guided me through my life, they have kept me safe.
My roots and my values nourish me. But like with anything that has life and that grows, I nourish them too.
As an adult I have worked on my values, as an educator I have explored them. I have reflected on them and unpacked them. My values have been strengthened but they have also been tested.
“When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind”.Chinese Proverb
My roots have kept me standing and surviving on several occasions over the years. I know I am lucky to have these firm foundations giving me my inner strength.
My roots are a constant, they are unwavering. My values are a constant, they are unwavering too. As I have matured, as have my values. As I have evolved in my thinking, my values and my roots have remained. As I have been shaken to my core, my roots have protected me.
My roots give me stability, security and safety.
“Change your opinions, keep to your principles;change your leaves, keep your roots in tact”.Victor Hugo