Thursday, August 9, 2007

closing doors

Last night Christian and I finished cleaning out our old apartment. As I closed and locked the door of our apartment, I thought to myself that I was closing the door on a chapter of our lives. I love change, but closing the door on that chapter made me a little sad because we will never open it again.

The door we closed:

For the past three years, Christian and I have lived on our own. Struggling with money sometimes, spending too much at other times. Leaving for Tahoe whenever we felt like it. Fend-For-Yourself-Fridays when the rule is that you just eat whatever you could find (in reality that was practically every night, but FFYF had a nice ring to it). Hanging out together after work. Going days without seeing each other because we are so busy. Spending every possible minute together --- Just the two of us.

The door we're opening:

A shared life. From now on, it will never be just the two of us. Yes, we can still get away to Tahoe. Yes, there will be evenings when we are the only two at home. But it will never be quite the same.

Children. We seem to be doing this all backwards. We're starting with teenagers. Most people work their way up to teenagers. I guess we parent the way Christian wakeboards -- Go big right away and then learn how to land. Dianna moved in about a week ago. Richard moves in in about 3 days. In this very short amount of time, I have noticed a huge change in myself.

Change #1: It's like I have kicked into mom mode. I wondered if that would ever happen, but it seems to be happening. I'm like the energizer bunny. I can't stop. From the minute I get home from work (or tutoring, or whatever else I do after work), it's go go go go go. There are still things to organize. Boxes to go through. Rooms to rearrange. Things to put up on the walls. Dishes to do. Plants to water. Old apartment to clean. Laundry to do. Mail to sort. Bills to pay. And a to-do list a mile long on the fridge. Don't get me wrong. Christian definitely helps (and always has), but I'm kicking it up a notch.

Change #2: A nag is an old or over-worked workhorse. I learned that last night. So how did "a nag" become synonymous someone who constantly reminds and bugs people to get things done? Nagging should mean collapsing out of exhaustion from working so hard. I told Christian that he is not allowed to say that I nag. If things just got done on their own, I would have no reason to say anything. But they don't. "Where are you applying for jobs, Dianna?" "Have you called so-and-so yet?" "How's your school registration going, Christian?" Does it bug you that I'm reminding you? Well it bugs me 10 times more that I have to remind you. I will not be a nag. I will put my foot down now. Things will get done without me having to say something. Christian's to-do list is making its debut on the fridge today. And our first family home evening will be on setting goals and accomplishing them. I will not be a nag. And I mean that in both senses.

Change #3: My concerns. I now find myself reading articles with titles like "Tips for Parenting," "Tips for Improving your Teenager's Grades," "Promoting Education in Your Home," "Helping your Child Adjust to High School," "Preparing Study Space for Your Child," and "The Blessings of Seminary, Institute, and Lifelong Education." Oh, yes. None of that "Preparing Yourself for a Baby" or "What to Expect During Pregnancy." I'm headed straight to the big leagues. How exactly do you guide a 16-year-old down the right path? How do you prepare him for college when he's had 16 years of not preparing for college? How do you make sure he makes good friends who will be good influences on him? How do you make sure he understands the complications of dating, and sex, and drugs, and drinking? How do you talk to him in a way that he will listen? I'm only 25. I remember like it was yesterday (because it practically was) how annoyed I often felt when my parents were talking to me about these things.

Change #4: Learning to share all over again. I swear I learned how to do this in kindergarten, but it seems to have escaped me since then. I have never had younger bothers or sisters. And I think that small, seemingly insignificant fact is now showing it's face. My gut response to everything now is, "What the heck? Those are mine. Go buy your own!" And then I have to remind myself, "Molly, you don't use those stamps anyway. Why do you care?" Or "Oh my goodness! I can't believe all the chicken nuggest are gone!" And "Oh wait, we decided the food is for everyone, which means it's going to get eaten." I am amazed by the selfish things that have been popping into my head. I never knew they even existed! Time for them to go.

And this was only one week. I can't imagine what changes will pop up next week. Like I said, I love change. This is a new adventure for me. Some things will be very hard. Some will be very fun. Some will just take getting used to.

Signing off.


Mer said...

You're awesome! This sounds trivial compared to your life changes, but today I closed and locked the door to my art studio at school and I felt like I was locking away a best friend. I'm almost done with the MFA and now, what!? I have to be a professional artist?! You're kidding me! I have a new studio now and it's probably better than the old one (i.e. closer to my pantry at home), but change definitely takes time to get used to!!

Ashley said...

Wow. You are a better mom than I am!