It's so hard growing up. I forget that in all the silliness of their play, in how each day seems so carefree, full of wonder and possibility for them from my perspective. But I'm an outsider. I've made my way through childhood and have arrived at adulthood. It all seems so simple looking back, watching them. I have forgotten how time seemed to stretch impossibly through childhood and everything I wanted was always "later", days or years away, out of my reach. I have forgotten how it felt to have so little control and say in life, that everyone made decisions for me, about me, that I was supposed to just accept and "get over it".
He likes to remind us how he hates change, and there has been so much recently. He moved from the fun of first grade, where he excelled and was cherished by his teacher, to second grade, where each day was a struggle, the workload grew exponentially, and he was just a face in the crowd. Our beloved pastor at church resigned, the only pastor and church he remembers. Over the past few years, I began working longer hours at a new job that I love, and daddy became the primary caregiver at home. We lost our dog of ten years. But if you ask Brady, he will tell you that "It all started when Maryn was born." Ah yes.
I remember being ready to go to the hospital to have our girl and being suddenly struck with such guilt and fear over what we were about to do to our small son's life. He was only two, and had been the center of our world. He had no idea what was about to change and had not asked for his life to be so radically shifted. After her birth, I asked that he not be brought to meet her until the next day. I was still reeling from a dramatic delivery and didn't want him to have to see me in the state I was in. I honestly was struggling to come to terms with the changes already evident in our lives. It was my first night away from him; the first night of our family of four.
It was the biggest change we had ever faced. It was tough and painful and redemptive and beautiful. It was lots of tears, long days and nights, and John sleeping on the floor with Brady for months while I slept with Maryn in my arms. It was dying to our selfishness each day and realizing it was not about us (sometimes begrudingly); it was wondering if we would ever find our way back. We still have those hopeless days, but not nearly as often. The thing about change is that it changes us. It's not just our circumstances, but our selves that are transformed. Sometimes, like Brady, we mourn those old losses, the familiar bits that we want to cling to. But if we are willing to surrender, something much more beautiful finds room to grow.
The empty living room echoes without the furniture and rug as we wait for the replacements to arrive. Maryn is thrilled, running laps around the room at any opportunity, laughing at the sound she creates. Brady stays away glowering for much of the day. But when it was time to wind down before bedtime, they brought their bean bag chairs in and watched a movie together, side by side. Their laughter filled the room.
Sometimes change is like that.