Friday, September 19, 2014

How to Deal With Change

Yesterday I had Zack try on every pair of long pants he owned to see what fit and what didn't. It's a ritual every mother of a growing boy goes through each season.  After putting the pants that fit back in their drawer and the many that didn't fit into a bag for the school rummage sale, I mentally added "buy new pants" to my checklist for today's shopping trip.

As I was driving Zack to school, I looked over and realized I didn't have a little boy any more. Not in the traditional way of thinking, anyway.  He'll always be my little boy, but things have certainly changed.

Zack at age two and a half, and me, loving that he fits in my lap.  

Zack at an Orioles game a couple of weeks ago, age eleven.

For instance, adolescence is already here.  He's almost as tall as I am.  He can sit in the front seat of the car with me now.  But the clothes -- it hit me hard today that when we go shopping, I can no longer go to those cute and adorable stores any more.  No more Gymboree or Hanna Andersson.  It was easy for me to ignore that in Target I was buying him "Bazinga" logo t-shirts in the men's section because Target has always run small for boys and besides, there was no "Bazinga" in the kids section.

original source unknown, but via The Big Bang Theory.

This segues quite well into the changes I've been struggling with in my own life.

I am like my son.  I don't do well with change, and that's an understatement.  It makes me twitchy and bitey and sometimes stabby.  I want to know what's ahead.  I'm a list-maker, the sort who will write something down that I did that wasn't ON the list just so I can check it off. Super Type A.

I've grown up fighting it, thinking that change is not just hard but evil.  And that thought has to metamorphosize into something better.

Life can indeed be a bowl of cherries.

Making changes in my life has been difficult but not impossible.  Recently I made the decision to stop fighting the things that suck the life out of me.  Yes, I sometimes have to fake it a bit to get that smile going and to therefore KEEP going (a smile can kind of force you into action, you know), but that doesn't mean *I* am fake.  And when things really, really hit me hard and lay me low, I won't Facebook or blog about it nearly as much.

However, I'm writing THIS now, because after thinking about shopping in the Young Men's Department for my baby boy, I realized that I can't keep shopping in the Department of Things That Were and cursing when things no longer fit.  There are lots of Departments of Epic Things out there, and "epic" doesn't have to mean world-changing -- it can mean life-changing for a party of one.

Almost all my life I imagined big plans, bigger dreams.  Somewhere along the way, I thought if I gave up anything, closed a chapter, picked up another book, it would negate that part of my existence and make my life less meaningful. That's not true. Difficult to make myself believe all the time, but certainly not true.  The world is full of books -- opportunities, ideas, and things that sometimes fall into your lap with providence and expectation from the stars. Fighting myself and these new chapters isn't helping me at all.  So, change.

I hate that Zack is growing up, because with one child, every first is also a last.  However, I am so fortunate to HAVE him that I'm really excited about his firsts and if I can, (and mothers know this is difficult) concentrate on those moments, not the "oh my gosh, that's the last time X will ever happen." With my personality, it will certainly be a challenge.  But this is where my writing comes in.  If I write about life, everyday life, the mundane to the exciting, there is a record, and re-reading is a joy. Even re-reading the low parts of life isn't a bad thing because inevitably, eventually, the wheel goes 'round and oh hey look, good things again.

So this afternoon, while I enjoy lunch with Zack and shop for his new pants, I'll be in that moment.  I may have to jab myself sometimes to STOP IT and ENJOY, because I can't help that I'm nostalgic and sentimental.  It's quite alright to be sad sometimes, mad at times, hurt at times.  If we didn't allow ourselves those emotions, we'd explode in a big squishy mess.  Now, though, I'm going to try and do my best to learn to give up past things, and live in the moment.  Yet I'll never forget the past, because it formed me.

And that, dear readers, is how I'm dealing with change.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.


  1. I too am the mother of an only... He is 13 and yes I have to admit a smidge taller than me now. We shop in the mens department. We snuggle every morning before school and for those 10 minutes he is still my baby boy that I held every day before I had to go to work. He rode a roller coaster this year that you couldn't pay me to get on.. he rode the front seat. That about explains life.. it is a roller coaster and sometimes you ride in the front and sometimes you have to be smart enough to just stand to the side.

  2. From reading your bio a long time ago, I seem to remember that you've handled many changes in your life already, too. Even if you fought them at the time, they all turned out as good things, which is a memory you can hold on to as you navigate this one. Sometimes letting go of the little things can be hard --in getting both hips replaced over the last couple of years, I felt like I was in a holding pattern, waiting to resume things like roller-blading, that I enjoyed previously. But I've come to realize that I will never be doing those particular things again --it's time to move on to other activities and embrace them :-)

  3. Lynn, Zack is a snuggler, too, and I'm going to keep at it even if he's fighting and screaming, LOL! But somehow, I think he will always be that way -- ready for a hug at the drop of a hat, and ready to hang with mom and help her put heart stickers on her car and pink in her hair.

  4. Great post. I, too, am not a fan of change. Especially the changes my youngest daughter is experiencing. Somehow it feels more like I'm going through her changes. She'll be 14 in a matter of days, is wearing my clothes, and is almost as tall as me. These moments of reality come in like waves of 'How did she get to be 1 year from a Learner's Permit' to graduating High School, and so on. And even though I've been through this twice before, it's all scary and brand new all over again each time. I miss Gymboree, Limited too, even Toys R Us. I have to think about not losing my babygirl, but gaining a wonderful, intelligent, inquisitive, curious, free - thinking, talented young lady. Not easy, for sure, totally worth watching her blossom and bloom! I wish we'd started kids at the same time. I learn so much from your perspective and wisdom!

  5. Lori this is such a beautifully written post from the heart. I have no son but I can relate with my daughter whom is now grown and has two grown daughters of her own. Even my granddaughters didn't stay little for very long. Change is never easy but we do learn to adapt and sometimes even enjoy the "new norm". Hugs for you and Zack my friend...

  6. This was a great post. I think we all have felt the way you do at times. I am also the mother of an only and you have to cherish every moment that you can.

  7. They will always be our baby. Last night I took my very pregnant daughter to the airport where she was going to meet her husband. She asked me to help her find her gate. I love her so much.

    I really love to read your posts Lori - always inspirational.

  8. Lori, your post brought tears to my eyes. Logan is our only one too and at 17, he's now a 'man' and although I want him to spread his wings and fly, it's tough realizing I have to let go. He's a snuggler too - always giving me hugs through out the day - and although my face now hits his chest and it's his arms around me instead of vice-versa like when we was tiny, I feel that same special love that only Mama's have for their 'babies' and I know it will continue until we both leave this earth!! You're right to enjoy and savor each moment, for those willbecome lovely memories to fill you with joy whenever you need an uplift!!

  9. My granddaughter is 12 and has entered adolescence also. When she visited me this summer I really noticed the changes in her and took her shopping for clothes in the junior department. ( I don't know his you get Zack to try on all of his pants) She had definite ideas about the kind of clothes she wanted and that were not those cute little girl clothes we had bough tin the past.

    I mourned that she is no longer the young child she was last year, but I am looking forward to watching her as navigates the teen years. Change is inevitable,

  10. Hang in their mama, you're doing just fine. I did the same thing with all three of mine. It really is no different only or multiple. It is hard to see them grow up and move on. You are a wonderful mother. Enjoy the time you have. Blessings!

  11. My children are all grown with there own children. Through the changes of their life I was sometimes resistant to the change but I also realized that change can be a wonderful and joyous thing. So let yourself embrace the change it can bring such joy and inspiration to your life.

  12. Great post! I don't know how I missed it a few days ago, so I am glad you referenced it in today's post. I find the topic of dealing with change fascinating, and watch myself and those around me deal with it in different ways. All very interesting and wonderful when you can make it work.


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