Returning to Family Roots Britta Petrich May 9, 2014 Articles Next month my husband and I will have lived in Danville for five years. Coincidentally, next month we are moving to Pennsylvania. As we prepare to pack up our two children, both of whom were born here in Southern Virginia, we are taking pieces of their family history along with us. I was born in Pennsylvania and it is no coincidence that it is where we are returning. When I was 18, I left the comfort and security of my rural hometown in north central Pennsylvania for Virginia Tech. After I graduated in 2002, I bounced around from Florida to a brief stint back in Pennsylvania, but only to return to Virginia again for a job. When I had my first baby three years ago, I began to miss home. When I had a second baby, I really missed home. Before I had kids I taught a writing course for a few years. I remember giving my students a writing prompt that read, What does home mean to you? One of my favorite responses was, “Home is where you do your laundry.” The response initially made me laugh, but it also made me realize that you have to live fully and function where you are, regardless of whether or not you will live there for the rest of your days. For the past five years I have happily done my laundry in Danville. Nonetheless, you cannot escape the importance of your roots. Almost my entire extended family lives throughout Pennsylvania and now my nuclear family is moving smack dab in the middle of the state. We will be surrounded by family in any direction a weathervane might point. Regardless of which way the wind is blowing, this fact calms me. I don’t know if my kids will ever return to Danville and as hard as it will be to close the front door to our Danville home for the last time — the home we brought both babies into from the hospital — I am filled with gratitude that my husband landed a job that will take us back to where my deep-rooted family history began. I am eager to give my children the gift of more frequent get-togethers with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as I reacquaint myself with the state I call home. When the children become older, we will certainly share photos of the positive start they received in their first home. My husband and I will take memories of the friends we made and the people who loved us while we lived here, but like all things in life, nothing lasts forever. I will move on, a more experienced mother and writer as I integrate my family into a new town. In the process, Danville will always have a special place in my heart. Fond farewell to the birthplace of my children. This will be my final story in Evince. Special thanks to Joyce Wilburn for giving me a chance at something I love by printing my submissions.