When Lauren, a dear friend, recently had her baby, we discussed the implications of becoming a parent. Frequently, people hear that “everything changes” once you have a child. Lauren remarked on this noting that while it is true, what we are not told is that things keep changing. Circumstances changed for my friend (initially staying home with her child, then having extended family assistance, and then her son moving to day care), as did the child’s developmental stage (getting ready for work in the morning was slightly easier before he had enough hand motor skills to pull her hair while breastfeeding).
I anticipate the day when I have children; the thought of being a parent evokes little anxiety. However, this discussion stuck with me and I find myself reflecting on it regularly. I am proudly plan-oriented (my close friends alternatively label me a bit more sinisterly). When I get hung up on my biological urges, I think of how having children would mean these constant routine adjustments. Now, I still anticipate, but I more wholeheartedly appreciate my current circumstances.
This move to Germany has disrupted my nature on so many levels and it continues to do so. I set a goal of getting a job straight out of graduate school, but love for people and adventure requires us to make modifications, don’t they? Here for three weeks, V and I are experiencing the changes that keep changing; we become accustomed to our little routines, but life obliges us to shift again. Many of these moments are important, necessary, and even joyous alterations (we signed a lease on our apartment, for example), but they are still difficult in their difference to the reality we finally got the hang of.
Then, I remember, that this is what life is. As plan-oriented as I fancy myself, few of my plans have ever gone exactly as I have outlined. It is the surprise, uphill climbs that require one’s best self to emerge and the curves in the path that bring beauty and novelty to the ordinary. Christ, this is my practice, and one important reason I named this little space of internet The Leaves Change; the way leaves vary shape and color with each move I make to a new location, and the cycle of birthing buds, to green sun-soaking leaves, to brilliant colors of surrender, to earthy mulch that keeps the root-filled ground strong, these are great reminders of diversity, transformation, and impermanence. While I diligently work to create some semblance of routine in my day to day to preserve my earthly sanity, the reminder that so much is unknown and that it will lead to good is what animates my spirit.
Things keep changing, and I keep change.