Roots and Wings: Re-Entry | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Roots and Wings: Re-Entry 

Published February 18, 2015 at 9:06 a.m. | Updated April 4, 2022 at 7:59 p.m.

click to enlarge Jessica in front of Lake Champlain, adjusting to the cold
  • Jessica in front of Lake Champlain, adjusting to the cold
Roots and Wings is a follow-up to Jessica Lara Ticktin's blog series On the Fly: Homeschooling Adventures Around the World, in which she chronicled her family's recent four-month international adventure. In this new series, she'll explore her family's efforts to incorporate what they learned from their trip into their daily life in Vermont. 

Was it all just a dream? Sometimes this thought penetrates my foggy brain when the alarm goes off on a frigid winter morning, and I dive into the chaos of getting sleepy children up, making lunches and rushing out the door.

Weren’t we just in Israel? In Jordan? Cape Town? Waking up to the sun streaming in through the window, enjoying a leisurely breakfast all together before settling into our homeschooling projects?

I am happy to be back home in Vermont yet I also still yearn to be away. If not geographically, then at least psychologically and spiritually. Recently, I head the phrase "roots and wings,"  and this really captures how I am feeling. I have my feet firmly planted on the ground here in Vermont, with an amazing community of friends, but I harbor the desire to fly away to new places. I have roots and wings at the same time. 

During our four-month trek around the world last fall, my family of five (we welcomed number six on January 28!) slowed our pace, listened to the rhythm of our bodies, made each decision, big or small, with intention.

Going on a trip is easy. The hard part is coming home, figuring out how to incorporate the changed person you are into an unchanged routine.

In those first few weeks back, I drove around Burlington more slowly. I was more patient with every aspect of the day. As the weeks went by, this became difficult to maintain. The children plunged into school life and activities as if they had never left.

Yet when Friday came, they were tired, and we all felt aware of how we had scattered like seeds in all directions during the week.

We don’t want to lose the closeness we’d established during out trip. So we have implemented some new rituals. We now ring our peace bell from Hiroshima when it’s dinner time or when we have a family meeting. The girls help cook, set the table and clean up, as they did on our trip.

But it’s not quite as idyllic as it sounds. I have to remind the girls about these chores more now and they’re less happy about them.

As a family we still feel close, but now I recognize that when you take children out of their comfort zone — as we did for four months — they naturally stand closer to you, take less for granted and are grateful for the small things they receive.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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