Monday Notes: Accepting Change

It was 1993. Dwight and I had just figured out that we were in mutual adoration of one another. Smitten, really.

I was working at a pre-school, called Sara Swickard, which was affiliated with Western Michigan University, our alma mater. I knew I wanted to be a teacher and working at the pre-school made perfect sense.

One summer’s day, I left work to find a flower and a note attached to my car’s windshield. I don’t remember what the note said, but I remember how I felt, surprised and loved. It was a welcomed break from the booty calls I’d participated in and the unsuccessful partnerships I’d called “relationships.” He liked me. He actually liked me.

Dwight says I mention this memory often. He’s probably right because I can still conjure the butterflies that fluttered that summer if I think on it long enough. I know the depths of the shock of someone leaving a rose with a note on your windshield feeling. But the reality is I’ll never have it again. That was yesterday. He was different and so was I.

And that’s part of my challenge. I always want yesterday’s emotions.

For example, I remember my youngest daughter’s joy during her first conscious Christmas.

“For meeee???” she exclaimed when she realized all those shiny wrapped gifts were hers and hers alone. “Thank yoooouuu Mommeee! Thank yoooouuu Daddeee!”

Her face was indescribable. She’d never looked like that before and she’d never look like that again.

Christmas would become commonplace and sometimes obligatory. Gifts would be expectant, so much so, that when Dwight and I paid over $3k for her to visit England with her English teacher, she’d forget that Christmas 2018 was wrapped up in those sacrificial dollar signs and grimaced at the idea of having no tangible present. Her disappointment was palpable.

I want yesterday’s memories, the ones from over a decade ago.

I wish my oldest daughter was still an adolescent, taking selfies with her sister and me, complaining about how horrible my angles are, snatching my phone, while making it social media presentable. But she’s not. This past Christmas, she brought her boyfriend, who was seemingly attached to her physical being. Private conversations rarely existed because he was always around.

I was happy that she would be alone during our last Thanksgiving because that meant we could be like we were, pre-boyfriends and pre-adultood. Just the four of us. For once, I understood the difficulties of accepting your child’s significant other. It’s hard. You want to be welcoming, but at the same time, you wish things were like they were before they arrived.

But that’s impossible. Things can never be as they were before. Time moves on and changes occur.

So, I do the best I can accepting what is.

roses_2019Dwight no longer believes people should use flowers the way that they do, so if he buys them and brings them home, the meaning is different. Desi knows Christmas is a social construct, so when she buys and receives presents there’s now an underlying awareness of societal conformity. Kesi brought her boyfriend home for the holidays. He will forever be etched in 2019’s holiday photos.

One day, I’ll stop chasing yesterday’s memories. One day, I’ll accept what is because to do otherwise is to invite suffering. And who wants to do that?

68 thoughts on “Monday Notes: Accepting Change

  1. Dr. G and booty calls! Some people are always seemingly good and upbeat, to the point of exhaustion (and me delivering the sideeye). As always, I appreciate your honesty.

    I think we make change an issue when we deem it bad instead of good. And sometimes it isn’t a matter of good and bad, just different. But we have the memories and that’s a good thing because it helps us appreciate the present. Sometimes I think want my nephew to be a baby again instead of this gross tiny grown man, but I also love how funny, self-sufficient, diaperless and smart he is now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL first of all, Kathy and booty calls. The other identity is so not synonymous lol

      And lol about your gross, tiny, grown man nephew. Yeah, change that isn’t what we think it should be, in general, is sometimes hard to live with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! I got it! They are two different young ladies!

        And I am with you. I definitely have to learn that what it was, what it is and what it will be are all very different and I probably can’t change that fact under most circumstances.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I read the first three “mental health” posts in reverse order, but I’m really enjoying them. I’ve always appreciated your transparency–the way I can sympathize, empathize, pause and consider, and laugh at the same time. The boyfriend forever in the pics really made me LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow! They didn’t even make it through the school year. I wonder what made them think they were ready to spend holidays together. Everything moves so quickly for the very young adults nowadays (I really sound old, here). 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Kathy, this is beautiful and so honest and authentic. I am sending Light and love to your process of acceptance. When I read your post, I was particularly struck by this statement:

    “So, I do the best I can accepting what is.” To me, this takes courage and is the pathway to deep acceptance, and forgiveness, plus is the springboard for expansion on such profound levels.

    Thank you. For being you. For being open and sharing the learning and experiences that you have. They lift me, and clearly countless others!!

    Bless you.
    Love and Light,

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve enjoyed your post. I often think about joyous moments of yesteryears and sometimes the what ifs. It one of those days that make you reminisce about those times that make you want to hold onto to them.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. Typically, I write about something that’s happened immediately to preserve the emotion of the moment. And you’re right! It’s funny how you can have just as many versions of a story as you have people.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Kathy, you capture the dichotomy of life perfectly here! How we treasure those precious moments, long for them to remain thus forever, yet recognise life moves steadfastly onwards. Those moments are safe within the memories, in our hearts and minds. I too relive key events, and smaller ones, with fondness and love. However, at the same time I am overjoyed with how my son has grown-up, embracing his young adulthood, venture away from home. A couple of years ago his then-girlfriend was, as you describe your daughter’s boyfriend, glued to his side – we all smiled at them. So sweet and she was so taken with our Christmas … a gift she will never forget!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautifully written Kathy. Bitter sweet, but how good is it to be able to conjure up those feelings anytime by remembering those moments. I have 1.5 weeks left before my baby starts school so im really feeling an urge to hold on to every moment and slow down time, but I’ve learnt that being present has a way of slowing time. Life huh? It’s so fleeting and precious yet we don’t spend every moment with that awareness 🥺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mek! I’m thinking we have to be Buddhist monks or something to live every moment with awareness. It’s challenging for sure.

      Good luck with sending him off to school! That part is going to go by fast, too 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. My daughter at 22, has her first “friend”. I am not comfortable with boyfriend. Good young man. He came home and they went out many times. She has been my shadow, my friend, my confidante and I missed her many days this December when she was away on outings with him. I need to get used to all this. Its not easy and I have had many wobbly moments. NO doubt there will be more wobblies but I am so happy for her.
      Tough having a husband working away from home.
      …. and a moody emerging young son at 18.
      Im learning to get to know me again… and liking what I am learning.
      Strength to all us sisters in the same boat!
      Happy 2020 all!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, the inevitability of change… As long as we not cling to warm memories, because of the lack of warmth in the present, I see no harm in ‘reminiscing’ (is that the correct word?). Because if their is a ‘lack’, I think its high time to do better.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was absolutely moved to tears by your post, Katherin. I think what touched me most was how honest you were about the shift from youthful exuberance to the place I am in now – passive and unemotional. In so many ways, I can remember how excited I was to go to the beach on the weekend and do things I am not excited about now. I wish I could recapture that blissful time. I really did with my rebirth ten years ago. But with health issues and age, I long for those feelings again. That was why I felt teary – you said it so well.
    Dwight’s flowers and your daughter’s first Christmas – sigh, long ago moments that can never come again. But they can – by reliving them with a smile!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Judy! I’m glad/sad this resonates, but I definitely understand what you mean. Although I know it is rather important to stay in the present, because that’s all we really have, you just really want to relive those great times.

      But, I suppose if the brain doesn’t know if you’re really in a place or not, then reliving them in your head for a second can’t hurt 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh this is a bittersweet post for sure. Nothing wrong with thinking about the past and how things change. As long as you move forward, which you’re clearly doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Dwight no longer believes people should use flowers the way that they do, so if he buys them and brings them home, the meaning is different.” — How so?

    My experience is a little different. I was always chasing the feelings/experiences I thought I or other people *should* have, which invites its own kind of suffering as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you mean how is the meaning different? Well, he actually put his feelings aside to do what he knows would bring a smile to my face, not necessarily to impress me because that’s what people do in a relationship.

      And oh yeah…I suffer from that, too. Like, how come you’re not as excited as I am? How come you’re not as angry as I am?


  11. So perfect, sigh, indeed… when I get like that I try to remind myself that memories are always sepia tinted with knowing how it’ll all end in advance & how today might eventually feel just like that memory feels now…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We will always retain memories as long as we are healthy. The mind can be quite selective though so we have to beware not to be tied to the negative. Most of us have both happy and sad memories and it can make us richer and wiser as we go forward.

    Rejoice for your daughter and they will love being with you. She sounds such a positive girl.


    Liked by 2 people

  13. Those cherished memories are truly bittersweet. I find it hard to look at old photo albums of when the kids were either 1) truly happy and carefree or 2) showing signs of not being happy anymore, and knowing why, and photos of my husband when he was happy and when he moved into the chronic depression he deals with now. I’ve had to accept that we had some great years and now things are the way they are.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. You express this so beautifully. The time goes so fast that I am starting to feel nostalgic for times that haven’t quite ended yet, probably because my son will (hopefully) be off to university in a matter of months. Note to self: live in the present more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had to laugh at this sentiment because I understand it as well. You’re in the moment, but you know what’s coming (son leaving), so you begin to reminisce and miss the moment before it’s time Living in the present can be such a challenge.


  15. I think longing for the past on occasion is good – it makes us do some effort for the coming future. But, learning to let go of things that will no longer be is crucial for your own happiness. On a bright side, you can always nag your daughter for grandkids 😉

    Liked by 3 people

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