Earlier this week I was drinking coffee at work with some in the den and talking about hot weather and the lack of apple orchards in this part of the country. One of them was playing guitar and started to sing a song, about me. The lyrics were amusing and mostly centered around my northernness. It included lyrics such as “organic crap” “damn yankees” and “gourmet pastries.” I am completely aware that I have a reputation for being a bit pretentious when it comes to food. I’m fine with it because I am so completely non snobby when it comes to loving people. Or at least I truly try to be warm, kind and accepting when it comes to people.
So yes, I am from Michigan and yes I love cool weather, and Lake Michigan, and apples, and coffee shops but I am earnestly trying to make my home here. I truly believe that God has us here on purpose and for a reason and I see glimpses of this reason all around me. However, if I am honest with myself, Ada still doesn’t feel like home. Which for me brings to the surface the question of where home is. Home isn’t the house where I grew up, without getting into details, too much pain. Home is not Kentucky where we lived briefly before here. So home seems like an elusive place. I love our house here on Homer Road, I love that there is a bakery across the street, I used to love our flower beds but then I got pregnant and they are less a point of pride for me.
Anyway, there was another aspect to the song, a portion focused on how Noelle is an Okie even though her mom isn’t. Now she was born right here in Oklahoma, but I like to believe I was able to infuse some Michigan-ness into her while I carried her for nine months. And I suspect this belief is correct because she loves applesauce, splashing in the water, and one moment last winter when a friend from Ada and I took our baby girls out in the cold her daughter cried and hid her face and Noelle flung off her hood and grinned at the refreshing cool air. Mission accomplished. She is my daughter.
I want her to be where she is from, but on the other hand I long to take her to Michigan in the fall. To crunch the leaves of an apple orchard and share donuts and apple cider with her. To take her to Lake Michigan in the summer and eat ice cream with her on Grand Haven boardwalk. To dress her up in a little dutch girl costume and watch her clomp around Holland in tiny wooden shoes. And to see what she does in falling snow, sliding down a small hill and enjoying my grandmas cookies and cocoa.
The interesting thing is I want to show you the same thing, I want to share who I am and where I come from with you, and that’s what makes me a unique find in Oklahoma. Because I carry inside me the sense of something different, something a bit northern, and a bit rare for these parts. And I love sharing it, so I’ll make you apple crisp and almond pie and tell you about how much I’d love to take you to see the wonder of western Michigan. And I will share with Noelle the things I love and help her develop a deep sense of where she is as we explore our surroundings together, touching and smelling it all. And I’ll try to keep her from putting it all in her mouth right now.
She is a passionate girl, who loves outside, and all things sweet and carb. Today we watched her find a leftover cinnamon roll on a high table top and joyfully savor it as she ran around grinning. I can’t wait to see who God has in store for us in her, and to impart who he made me to be into her, as an option at least.
But for now I sit on my couch, longing to stroll through an orchard with my family, not someday but tomorrow.