Robin and I have been together since we were 19 and, invariably, every two or so years the we-need-to-make-a-change itch rears its head. We’ve rubbed against trees by chopping off 20 inches of hair, Robin not me, I had no choice, and applied soothing calamine lotion by getting tattoos, but the 2 year itches, the rashes, the ones without an easy fix, they usually involve something more brash, like packing our belongings or making new business cards.
We’ve lived in three states, owned three homes, brought home two dogs, birthed two kids, earned degrees, had numerous jobs with position changes, and have just now hit our mid-thirties. Sitting still hasn’t been an option.
I know, especially in our area, we’re not alone, and our moves and transitions may be modest in comparison to others. But, its not that we’ve followed these transitions, it’s that we’ve made these changes.
It feels different this time, yes, we impulsively looked at job and housing markets in more mountainous areas of the country (closer to family) and discussed the benefits and draw backs to uprooting. But, we also questioned when our need to move would stop, posited whether we would always chase new adventures, wondered whether there is a sunnier side somewhere or do we believe in creating the light where we stand, and most importantly, considered how it would affect Amelia and Hazel?
We can justify anything. Moving? The kids will learn to adjust to changes in life, develop skills meeting and making friends, and see different parts of the country. Not moving? The kids need to feel a sense of security and safety, they’ll be happier with life-long friends, and thrive on predictability. It’s easy. So, what to do?
We’re realizing that change doesn’t need to be physical to be dramatic or important. In fact, changing our perspective on our current situation has the potential for growth equal to packing up the family full of shots for a two year post in Africa.
We want our girls to embrace change in life, take risks, and not be content to the point of growing despondent. We also want them to stop and enjoy life, feel apart of a community, and understand that most situations are how you perceive them, that you have control.
With the new year upon us, we’re making a dramatic change. We’re going to try not to look too far into the future, enjoy what we have worked to create, and give our girls the lesson of what changes can be made when you change the way you see what’s around you. We’ll morph current landscapes by adjusting our perceptions lens to bring about new adventures in familiar surroundings, and grow by walking to our destinations instead of piling into a Ryder.
Like most resolutions, this should last a week or two.
Andrew Meyer is a Special Education teacher from Madison, Wisconsin, whose wife’s job relocation changed their family roles and physical location. He's now a stay-at-home dad in Madison, Alabama, to two awesomely creative, sometimes challenging, and mostly sweet five and two-year-old girls who fill his days, nights, and in-between spaces. When with or without them, he writes, works-out, wonders, wishes he wouldn’t worry, wrestles with his wife’s commitment to her job, and listens to music. You can also find him at www.papasense.wordpress.com, on Twitter @papasense, and Facebook.