Change is hard. That’s a theme I’ve encountered recently. I never knew quite how hard change could be until I had children. I have always been able to pick up at a moments notice and move on from a situation. I left my parents home when I was about 19. I moved to NC from FL in 2004 for my residency. I volunteered at different places and changed jobs when necessary. I walked straight into new situations without fear. I never feared change. I always embraced it. Enjoyed it. Looked forward to it. A fresh start.
My children on the other hand, resist change in a way that I can not fully understand. My husband and I have spoken about moving upon occasion. Especially in moments when one of us was struggling with our jobs. There were moments that we could have just packed up and left, except for one thing: the kids.
There is one glaring (albeit disgusting) example of just how much my children resist change. Their toothbrushes. My kids will dissolve into fits of absolute despair when I try to get rid of their toothbrushes. The youngest child probably taking their cue from the oldest. I’m really embarrassed to admit just how old their toothbrushes are. I have a drawer full of toothbrushes that I have gathered from the dentist, as gifts in their stockings at Christmas, or just picking up while shopping, thinking, this time, THIS toothbrush will be the one that wows them into giving up their old one. Even buying the exact same toothbrush, just newer, will not do. I’ve tried it. I end up keeping their old one just in case and it always happens, “but I want MY toothbrush!!!”
I could just throw away their old one. Toss it in the trash. Too bad, it’s gone you have to use the new one now. Tough love, they call it, but I just can’t do it, they LOVE their toothbrushes so much! It’s not normal.
Or maybe I’m not normal. Maybe I can walk away or throw something out a little too easily. I form attachments, but not at the expense of my dignity or self worth. When I do walk away it is always because of a better opportunity or I’m leaving a bad situation. Then it’s over, no regrets. I can’t say that I don’t look back, because I do, I’m not that far gone. The one consequence of change that is hard to see at first, is that you leave people you care about. You just might break their hearts. You might just break your own. Maybe that’s why I can’t throw away their toothbrushes. It’s too permanent and they are not ready to let go yet. I’ll give them some more time and replace their toothbrush when they are ready to embrace the change.