Change…

on September 4, 2010 27 Replies

Change sucks.

I apologize, fellow writers. I should have made the effort  to create a clever analogy or metaphor to explain my situation. Unfortunately, sometimes we must fall back on the simpleness of terms and emotion.

Change sucks.

There is one clarification needed in the above statement. When life has turned a dark corner and we are stressed, grieving, depressed and hopeless, the only thing we must count on is the absolute certainty that things will change. There is my disclaimer.

Let’s talk change. Summer is over. I am a lover of summer. I crave the heat of the sun on my bare skin and the freedom of sandals and the lure of beaches and vacation. I love long lazy mornings and endless evenings filled with Dairy Queen runs and barbeque grills, as I watch my boys throw a ball to my dog and play in the sandbox, their laughter echoing through the soft summer breeze. So, as many people look forward to crisp air and orange leaves, I battle my dread of the winter and try to stay in the moment. There are things I do love about the rotating seasons but I must stifle my instinct of preservation. I should have been born in Florida or some tropical island, but sadly, New York is bred in my blood so I am stuck here. Maybe forever.

My boys are growing and will begin school. Jake will attend kindergarten (as many of you have heard me crying and whining about endlessly) and Joshie starts pre-school. This change is ripping my heart into tiny little pieces because I am watching them grow up. For five years I have protected and watched over and loved my child to the best of my ability. Now, society says I must turn him over to a public school where I have no control over the teachers or how they will treat him, or the children he interacts with, for the majority of his days, five times per week, for the rest of his 18 years in the world, maybe longer.

So, after orientation this week, when I met his teacher and found her distant and cold; saw the huge yellow school bus where his head would barely reach the edge of the window to wave good-bye to me; saw the chaotic cafeteria with monstrous long tables and lines of food where he wouldn’t eat anything anyway, I told my husband I was going to begin home schooling.

He didn’t take me seriously, but I have already begun my research.

I know flocks of mothers have felt like me, but why does society laugh at them and pat their head with patronizing smiles and tell them everything will be ok?  What if it won’t? What if he hates school and the institutionalization of society stifles all of his uniqueness and creativity in an effort to make him conform to “normal” standards?

Change sucks.

 I am now 40 years old. Well, almost. I am happier than I was a decade ago, but somehow my body doesn’t agree with that statement. The eight pounds I have gained through my love of ice cream and skipping the gym has molded to me like krazy glue and refuses to be shaken off. I am suddenly in high risk factors and at my normal physical; I was bullied into an array of new “baseline” tests because basically, everything is going downhill from here. Including things that used to be quite perky, like my boobs and backside. My diet needs to be more carefully structured, I tire more easily, and I now have to battle both acne and wrinkles. I am beginning to realize what a jokester God truly is. Your mind grows sharper and more focused, growing with leaps and bounds full of wisdom. Your body turns and retreats in the opposite direction. Such the cliché, “Youth is wasted on the young.” What I would do for my mind now in my awesome twenty year old body.

Change sucks.

I used to love my job. I went to work and kicked ass. Tired, worn out, yet feeling proud of my accomplishments, my work was a part of who I was, even though I struggled with the time constraints of writing and raising a family. Now, the joy has been sucked out of my days, and I am moving to part-time. I am looking forward to more personal, quality time but the huge cut in pay will force some serious decision making regarding every financial choice. Oh, if only things had remained the way they were!  But as so many have reminded me, with change – good and bad- comes a fork in the road and always growth. My gut is saying it is time – there is something around the next bend but I must have faith it will all work out. My family will prosper throughout the hurdles, my work will remain true no matter what the format, and life will go on.

So, fellow readers and writers, let’s hold on for the ride, because hopefully, it will be a long one.

27 thoughts on “Change…”

  1. Theresa says:

    Jen,
    I totally understand where you are coming from I agree Change Sucks I never liked change all the years I was there and you know what even though I am struggling for a job right now I believe for every door that closes another one opens. I know this whole things sucks and the best thing that ever came out of me being there was meeting great people like you! You are an awesome friend and an awesome mommy. Your children are so lucky to have you! I really wish you all the best and I hope things will be better and if you feel you want to home school than go for it!!!!

    1. jennifer121 says:

      Thanks so much, Theresa – your love and support and friendship mean the world to me – and I know that will never change!

  2. Jen, Change happens. That’s the way of life. I’ve seem so many changes in my life yet at the bottom I never looked on change as anything but a way to grow. I remember the days when my children started school. I was excited. This change meant they were growing up and growing up is what they have to do. They have to learn how to deal with a variety of people in their lives and though we wish we could protect them forever, we can’t. Just learn to go with the flow. Jobs always have times when they suck, especially when you would rather be doing something else. I know. I put writing on hold while I worked. The toil nursing put on me made thinking about anything except people I was caring for. But as soon as I could I made a change and I haven’t looked bad. Hang in there.

    1. jennifer121 says:

      You are so right, Janet. It has been such a long time that I struggled with my job that I think I was out of practice! But, going part time will be the best thing for me now, and I have to trust that I gave Jake the proper foundation to let him go and grow. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wendy Marcus says:

    Hi Jen!
    Sending your first off to school is terribly traumatic. Hang in there. It WILL get better, especially after he survives his first day!!! (I cried just as hard when my oldest came home as I did when she left!)

    I’m a couple of years ahead of you and have been through many of the struggles you’re now facing. I’ve taken huge cuts in pay, stressed over how it would impact my family, and you know….so what…we didn’t take as many vacations, we didn’t eat out as much, but I was happier, and as a result my family was (I’d like to think still is) happier.

    In all the stress of juggling work, daycare, sickness and snowdays, I never once considered home schooling. I’m not cut out for it…would have wound up in mommy prison for sure.

    Good luck with this new chapter. It is what you make it. Don’t dread it, embrace it. You’re wonderful. You’ll find a way to make your life work no matter what’s thrown at you. (Bad Mommies Rule!)

    1. jennifer121 says:

      Wendy, you are so right. I think everything hit me at once on different levels and I spun out a bit. It really helps to hear from you because you have been through it, and I know Jake will be ok. The one thing I see in him is an ability to be true to himself, and that part of his personality will remain true, even in school. And money is just money, time is so precious right now it may actually be a very good change. Thanks, as always, for your support.
      PS: Bad Mommies Rule!!!!!

  4. As Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”

    1. jennifer121 says:

      Ah, good old Yogi. Count on my Yankees fan to set me straight. And we can’t forget Frost, one of my favorites. I just needed some good reminding that things would be boring as hell if nothing else happened. And eventually, I would probably end up kicking Jake out of the house myself!!!

  5. Regina Richards says:

    Hi Jen,

    I homeschooled my three K-8, then sent them to high school and now to college. When I decided to homeschool people said, “Are you crazy? You’re going to ruin those kids!” When I sent them off to public high school THE VERY SAME PEOPLE said, “Are you crazy? You’re going to ruin those kids!”

    The kids are fine. They thrived in both environments. One is studying Aerospace Engineering on a generous scholarship. The second is taking college-level pre-law classes even though he’s still in high school. The third is making straight A’s. All are happy well-adjusted folks. Homeschooling didn’t ruin them and neither did public school.

    I’m betting yours will be the same. Whatever choice you make for their education, the environment that you create within your home, your “family culture”, will be the deciding factor. And the fact that you will stay vigilant throughout their growing years and readjust/rethink/restruction/remove or whatever it takes to create the best experience possible for them is your strength.

    If you want to know more about homeschooling, public schooling and a range of choices in between – yes there are two-day a week schools that are a hybrid of homeschooling and institutional education – contact me and I’ll share what i know.

    Chin up. Your kids are lucky to have a mom who cares so deeply.

    1. jennifer121 says:

      Hi Regina,
      I really needed to hear your advice – amazing how two different environments can stress us out yet our kids prosper and manage fine. Your family sounds so wonderful, and I appreciate the hand to reserach some other ideas. For now, I know I would not thrive home schooling my kids so I am going to let him go and see how things work out. You are right about the home environment, that is something I can provide for him and will. Thanks for stopping in and making me feel better!

  6. Kat Attalla says:

    I gets better. I know that doesn’t seem possible at times, but it does. As one who has been through pre-school, middle school, high school and college graduations,each milestone in thier lives is an emotional roller-coaster in yours. Hindsight will make these memories precious and bring a smile instead of tears.

    Oh, and don’t give up the ice cream. Sometime ya just gotta treat yourself.

    1. jennifer121 says:

      HI Kathy,
      I believe you, I really do. I think once I get through this first week I will settle a bit – it’s so unnerving having no control over my baby! But such is parenthood, right? And thank goodness you gave me permission to eat!!! I really appreciate your words, meant a lot.

  7. Yolanda says:

    Change is alawys hard. Especially if it is thrust upone us vs. the changes we make to better certain situations. Which sometmes means making changes to deal with the hand we’re dealt. The change we think is or could be horrific in some cases turns out to be the best. As “Auntie” I only get to see the first day pics while my friends do the parental thing, each making uni. As it should be. but all best for their situations.

  8. Yolanda says:

    opps … I hit submit by accident … So where ever this new road in the journey takes you – hit the gas and enjoy the ride. Hang in there, you’ll do great!

    1. jennifer121 says:

      Thanks for checking on me, Yolanda! I was just as bad as an aunt. My first niece was like my daughter, and I pretty much raised her the first two years. When my brother moved, the idea of not seeing her every day was heartbreaking, even though I wasn’t even her mom. I cried like crazy for days, and now she is a beautiful 12 year old on the cusp of everything ahead of her. So, I will hit the gas and enjoy the ride!!!

  9. Jen, is this you? All I can say is get over it. Change what you can change and don’t worry about the rest. How will your kids learn what life is if their only experience is at home-sheltered home.You are a dynamite woman. The future is open to you as well as your children. Make the most of every precious day.

    P.S. I think I have your umbrella

    Your friend, Charmaine

    1. jennifer121 says:

      Hi Charmaine,

      You crack me up! Your post made me laugh, it was like getting a swift kick in the behind. And yes, this is me, just not at a great time. I think everything swooped in at once to overwhelm me a bit, but of course he has to grow up and make his way out there, and it will all be ok. Love your advice, change what I can and let the rest go. So I am. I am making proactive changes in my job, doing my writing, and trying to keep positive. Thanks so much for the lovely complement!

  10. Oh my, I think when my baby (also named Jake!) is ready for school I will miss him around the house. He’s only 16 months but I already do my own version of “home schooling” – teaching him to read with flashcards, which he loves. And yes, he can already read a few words for sure. But I won’t do home school full time – I’d go nutso LOL. I wish you the best of luck if you decide to go that route. But maybe he’ll like school? I always loved school so much as a kid (I know, I’m a dork). Change sucks, but it’s the one constant in life, lol!!
    Shoshanna

    1. jennifer121 says:

      HI Shoshanna,
      I think home schooling is a wonderful option but I already know I am just not suited for it, so I am taking a breath and letting him go! And yes, maybe all this lovely worrying is for nothing because he will love it and adapt to the change better than mommy. Thanks for checking in!

  11. Jen, change is SO hard. My oldest doesn’t do change well, so everything is trauma. I get it! I went through a rough publishing/publisher/agent/financial change recently which should have been horrific. I thought it would be. In the end it gave me the freedom to find joy again. I wish the same for you!

    1. jennifer121 says:

      Carly, I remember so clearly when I first joined the group, you just had your beautiful daughter Jennifer and look how time flew! Thank you so much for sharing – we all go through ups and downs and sometimes I handle it with grace and sometimes not (like now!). I know it will all work out so I am going with the flow, but it really does make a difference to see how many people understand.

  12. Kimberly says:

    Hey Jen, yes I will agree that change can suck but I don’t forget that change can bring you places in your life you never imagined yourself. Now that can be a good place or a bad place of course but lets focus for now on the good places.
    I remember a young woman in a dark place after a bad relationship, burnt out on her job and having to start over in every way until…Change..her comes the new job and the kind of relationship that restores faith in love.

    I remember the girl on the bleachers in high school who’s mind was set on the choice that she would never have children, a strong stance that remained for years until…Wow! here comes a change, a big one. The girl who felt she had no real motherly insticts becomes a woman who is a great, loving and natural born mother.
    I believe in you and your ability to maneuver gracefully through changes in your life this time will be no exception.
    As far as protecting the children from public school I understand how you must feel. Even my own sister who is sending her second child to kindergarten is kind of sad in knowing that the little boy she sends to school that day will now start to become a different child.
    I’m not a mom but I do know that as much as a mother might want to she will never be able to fully protect her child from the world and as a person who had a very over protective mother I can tell you it will be better for them if you don’t try to sheild them from it.
    Jake is a very intelligent and soulful child and the yellow school buses, cafteria tables and the cold teachers will never stifle that….it didn’t stop you, did it? 🙂
    So have faith in change because really how boring would life be without it and what would we ever really learn.

    1. jennifer121 says:

      Kim, I can always count on you to make sense of things. You should have been a writer. You are so right, there were ups and downs but we were all ok, and somewhere on the sidelines my mother was crying when I got on the bus, I just don’t remember it. And neither will Jake. Thank you for reminding me to have faith and God knows you are right – I hate being bored! Love you much. Jen

  13. hthurmeier says:

    Jen, Change is rough. I too have dealt with a lot of change recently. The biggest by far being my little girl going to kindergarten. It was hard to walk her into school that first day. It was even harder to leave her there and return to my car. My other child started preschool three mornings a week. So those three mornings are lonely. I get a lot of writing done, but the house is almost too quiet. Thank goodness I still have the dog around to annoy me. 🙂

    I also flirt with the idea of home school. I’d love to have the kids with me where I can watch them and make sure they’re safe. But sadly, I know that I would be a terrible teacher. They would miss out on new friendships and experiences that you can only gain at a regular school. So I’ve sent her off, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

    Rest assured, you are not alone. That’s what I keep telling myself every morning at 8:20 when I kiss her goodbye.

    1. jennifer121 says:

      HI Heather,

      Yes, you are going through exactly what I am going through. My little one starts pre-k next week, and I love the idea of keeping them close to me but I, too, would be a horrific teacher. I do not have the patience and it would probably harm them more than sending them out into the world. Thank you so much for your post, it does help me to know how others moms are going through it and understand how hard this is for me. You will be with me in spirit when I kiss my own goodbye tomorrow!

  14. Angelique says:

    The thing about change is that you just never know how well you managed or how great it is for you until you are on the other side. People don’t always relish in the triumps and foibles until well after the fact, but I see that as a writer you are already doing so ~ Goddess bless. “The joy is in the journey” or so I keep reminding my change-resistant self. (lol) with love & hugs, Angelique

    1. jennifer121 says:

      Ah, Angelique, so well said as usual. I think we need to remind ourselves often. Can’t wait to party with you on Friday night!

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