Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m the solitary, frozen figure in the center of a snow globe. Everything is swirling around me, chaotic and ever-changing, and I stand here, inert and solitary.
Obviously, life alters on the daily. Even as we sleep, things are spinning, repositioning and resettling. And yet, I am still predictably consistent.
Everything in my life is transforming. Some things happy, some sad, but the changes tend to rock my world. I never thought I feared metamorphosis, but apparently, I must.
When we are 12 years old, life appears constant and comfortable. The biggest challenge for me was slathering myself in baby oil and Mercurochrome to ensure a vicious tan/sun poisoning and making sure there was enough Dippity-Do in the bathroom with which to groom my sweet mullet. I remember having the self-awareness to know life was very, very good then and I was thankful. I was hyper-aware that change was coming, and I was a little scared to be a grown-up.
Our family home has been handed down to a new generation of occupants; ones who I’m certain will love and tend to it like we did. They will fill it up with their own stories and high-jinks, and the new children will hopefully find all the good hiding places in which to stow away items that every teenager the world over must hide. Or at least I did. Nothing illegal. That you know of.
My father is in a new home, trying his damnedest to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of his own life. His forks and spoons are in different drawers, his hats and coats in different closets, but his heart? Exactly in the same place it’s always been. And here I stand. Motionless, emotional and a little scared, still.
My youngest son will be in college next year. Despite him chanting, “One more year! One more year!” every day without regard to my hurt feelings, I understand his need to catch and release. Come September, no one will be at home but Nancy and me, and instead of sharing a can of soup at dinnertime with me, he’ll be sharing a can of Coors Light at Fox Hill with his golf wife, Joey. I will sit by myself, eating pickles out of the jar and wondering where the hell everyone has gone.
My older son will still be in college, although he really has been flying away since he was 18. Even when he’s here, he soars to a place called Elsewhere. He loves us but he prefers not being stuck in the house playing Scrabble with his mother. I assume it’s because there’s no way he can ever win. Stay in school, son, stay in school.
And as my daughter prepares to be married, I find myself precariously perched on the cusp of the Biggest Change of All. I promised her I wouldn’t inflict my many pre-marital opinions or suggestions onto her unless she asked. Why doesn’t she just request I stop breathing for God’s sake? She is in a perpetual state of planning and motion. And, I stand here, immobile, as I await her permission to suggest. I think I may expire.
My snow globe gets shaken every hour on the hour, and the shifting in the air around me is astronomical.
I want to embrace it, rather than fear it.
There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “When the winds of change blows, some people build walls and others build windmills.” I’m going to attempt to build a windmill. At least I have enough back-stock of Dippity-Do to keep the wind from ruining my mullet.
Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three, a librarian and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life.