My office, it’s a small room full of chotchkies and pictures, things we don’t agree on; I go there when time permits and I want to be alone with my “stuff”. I typically dip in and surface with a fist full of journals from my teen years. Piling them in Robin’s office, I attempt to read the scrawl aloud while she pecks her way through a more concrete world. We lose track of whether I’m speaking out loud, mumbling, or yelling in my mind. I head back to my office.
My office, my sanctuary, well, it’s also attached to the kids play room and, more often than not, I’m not alone. I’m typically gasping while shooing the girls off my various piles of scattered collections set out to sort, stack, and store away again.
It’s in this office we, on hot summer afternoons and cool fall mornings, dance and sing to some of our favorite songs. I remember our David Bowie jag a year ago. “Space Oddity”, “Oh! You Pretty Things”, and of Course, “Changes” were on repeat. It’s during “Changes” we would stop while I soloed my favorite line “And these children that you spit on. As they try to change their worlds. Are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.”
All of us who spend time with kids can pinpoint situations when nothing else mattered but us and them, times we lost our sense of adult self and reached moments of being ourselves. Bringing out the “us” in “us”.
As our family rounds another corner of change, with our girls, and me, heading back to school, many of these situations float through my mind, and I feel like I’m losing something. Then, I realize, I’m not losing anything, we are still in that same body of water we call a home, and, like liquid flowing over the earth, we change what’s around us, but never lose what binds us.
Years from now, when I’m alone in my office, and the girls are in their rooms surrounded by piles of poetry or teen posters, thinking the adult world just doesn’t get them, I hope to hear David Bowie pound through the floorboards. Even more, I hope to hear them recite the line I sang with such fervor years earlier.
It’s then I’ll retort “Oh you pretty things. Don’t you know your driving your Mama and Papa insane.”
There’s no modifier to typify the size of change that any of us are in the midst of, it’s not about that, to me, it’s a matter of how we identify to our change and move on that gives us our new sense of self, while remembering who we are.
“I watch the ripples change their size. But never leave the stream of warm impermanence and So the days float through my eyes. But still the days seem the same.”
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.