Jul 24, 2013
Seas of Change
My daughter Melissa (with flowers) with a group of friends. Would she be so happy had I not embraced the seas of change over 10 years ago?
I sat in the driver's seat, two hands on the steering wheel, one eye on the road and one eye in the rear view mirror watching my 6-year-old daughter Melissa, whose nonstop tears fueled the overpowering ache in my broken heart.
As we drove onward down the road to change, the newly formed leaves on the trees served as a reminder that this rite of passage had happened two months too soon. Bidding a fond farewell to childhood classmates is a ritual that should take place in June, not April.
A bag full of sweets and homemade cupcakes, remnants from the well-intentioned goodbye party, sat ignored on the seat next to Melissa, who clutched a small scrapbook filled with heartfelt notes and smiling faces of children I suspected she would never see again.
Onward we drove, toward our new home, my new job, her new school . . . our new life.
I reassured Melissa we'd come back, we'd make plans, we'd visit . . . longing for her to believe my lies. For although the next chapter on our life journey was merely an hour to the south, new friendships would form and time would be scarce, making trips to our former home seem highly unlikely.
Sure enough, my husband Bob, Melissa and I settled in . . . and never looked back. Yet nearly a decade later, the pain of hearing my baby's sobs as she reluctantly said goodbye to her friends still echoes in my heart.
Melissa's tears were a solemn reminder that my daughter does not like change.
The truth is . . . neither do I.
When things are comfortable and safe and familiar, I long for the stability that will keep change at bay.
I approach change as if standing on the deck of a rickety old boat lost in a squall. The rollicking waves prevent me from standing up straight on equal footing, and I'm not quite sure if the seas will ever transition to the peaceful calm that defined my life before the storm.
Of course, the seas did eventually relent, however the calm that greeted my family came not from the familiarity I had left behind, but the wonderful new life that beckoned from a different shore.
Just a few weeks ago, my daughter sat at the dining room table, diligently working on a Shakespeare essay for her 9th-grade honors English class. The first year of high school has come to a close, and summer, with its promise of no homework for two full months, is here.
I often wonder, had I chosen not to accept the new job that took us on that tear-stained drive so long ago, would Melissa, now a month shy of 16, be privileged to this life filled with family, friendship and love?
Change can be full of wonder and delight, yet those concepts can be difficult to grasp while you are standing on deck, holding on for dear life.
But thanks to my decision to embrace the seas of change, Melissa is happy.
The truth is . . . so am I.
Lisa Weinstein is a South Jersey mom who blogs about parenting a teen, coping with middle age and celebrating nearly two decades of marriage. This post was adapted from her blog, The Mixed Up Brains of Lisa Weinstein.