Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First, Change Your Life

The leaves are starting to fall on my driveway.

A new school year has begun.

And in my world, a new season of life is emerging.

I bet you think this is going to be a post about empty nesting.

Well, if you know me, you know that's not true. I have a very full nest. But, that doesn't mean that circumstances in our family aren't changing dramatically.

First Life Change -- New Home

In gearing up for the coming onslaught of changes, we moved to a new home. A home that allowed for the amount of living space necessary to have our children come and go, move in and move out, and hopefully, bring home the grandkids some day.

I can't believe that I am at the point of anticipating grandchildren, but I am. There are none on the horizon as yet, but that doesn't mean I am not at the stage in my life where I have to contend with the reality that the next child born into our family will not be my own. [Swallow hard; choke back the tears].

That's a BIG change, and one that I'm sure many people aren't prepared to have sneak up on them so quickly. I made the mistake among a group of similarly aged women of saying that we are the new generation of matriarchs to help the younger moms along the way. I know that they were kidding, but suddenly there I was, Marie-Antoinette before the Revolutionary Tribunal. Off with my head! Perhaps they didn't say it, but I'm sure the reaction was one that came from the same level of denial that I am in -- that my prime is past, that the years ahead will be different as I pass the torch to those coming up under me. I pray that they will see the value of my years of experience and allow me to be a source of wisdom and a guide along the way.

Second Life Change -- Eddie Ages Out

Well, we didn't decide to uproot our family just because of the hope of grandchildren. Eddie turned 22 yrs. old last April, and with that came his "graduation" from the school system. He loved his bus ride; I believe it was his favorite part of the day. Sure we thought about keeping him home all those years -- his experience in the system wasn't always stellar; and if he could talk, I'm sure I would certainly have been appalled at what was permitted outside of parental view (no different for my typically developing children). But, he liked getting up and going to school -- so we indulged him for 20 yrs. with a routine. And, we are grateful for the many wonderful memories we did experience for him.

But, now those hours fall to me to fill and make fruitful. It's a BIG change. Eddie is, for the most part, pretty easy going. When he's upset though, especially for reasons we can't figure out, he has a high pitched whine that sends the dog into a tail spin of howling! Dear me, it's a sound cacophony of epic proportions, and one I haven't quite figured out how to manage or eliminate. Yes -- it must go!

Back to the house -- we moved to get a house with land and a pool. Eddie LOVES the water, and he has made excellent use of the pool in our back yard this summer, as have we all. It's like having a retreat vacation available 24/7. But, somehow, I got elected to pool maintenance duties. Oh well, small price to pay for Eddie's radiant grin when he's playing in the water. Now, to figure out how to keep him happy and entertained in the winter.

Third Life Change -- Retirement

Here's the BIG ONE of all BIG CHANGES

Lyle will be retiring at the end of September. After more than 40 years of service to our country in uniform and as a civil servant, he will come home to be at the service of the family. It's a huge transition, one that I'm sure will take about 24 hrs. to get used to (he's really looking forward to this). As you can imagine, being the father of six kids takes some effort, especially when one has significant special needs. But, I think the hardest thing Lyle has ever had to do is be my husband. It's not easy having a saucy Sicilian bride for almost 30 yrs. He's done well holding up under the stress.

But, to be serious for a moment, it does mean life changes, role reassignments, relationship shifts. It's all natural, it's all normal; but, it's not all easy. The paperwork alone when someone retires is staggering -- now, add that to the pile of paperwork for Eddie leaving school, applications to qualify for services, buying and then refinancing a house. We are up to our eyeballs in paperwork, and he hasn't even retired yet!

And then, what is a man to do after more than 40 years of getting up and going to work everyday? Lyle has a plan for us -- it starts with daily Mass. Good plan so far. From there, he's working on it. It makes me smile to hear the various ideas. I think he'd make a great travel agent -- he loves to research and plan peoples trips. As I said, the plan is unfolding.

Final Life Change -- First, Change Your Life

Well, it all comes down to adapting to things uncertain, things unknown -- you know like having faith. With the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa right around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to assess and reassess and implement some changes. For instance, Lyle will be coming home to me and to the family on a full time basis (weird to think of it that way, but it's true), so how do I change my life to make this a seamless transition? Blessed Teresa of Calcutta recommends this:

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

So, I need to remember to be loving even when my routine changes dramatically with so many people in the house during the day. He should come home to be happier. That's my job. Just like it has been with my kids for all these years -- they should come home to be happier and go off again feeling loved.

It's never about making the other person change, making them adapt to your environment. It's about making the other person feel welcomed into a new situation; and your love in just that simple gesture will leave them wanting to change whatever is necessary to make you happy, to bring you joy.

First, change your life. That's the motto for the emergent changes in my world. They will all be crazy wonderful because God's will guides them all. 

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mother_teresa.html
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mother_teresa.html
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mother_teresa.html
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mother_teresa.html
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mother_teresa.html
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mother_teresa.html


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