Sunday, February 2, 2014

"But I'm still little"

Tonight is my last night of maternity leave. I am filled with the ambivalence of wanting to return to my work, with colleagues I respect and work I find meaningful, while wanting to stay within arms' reach of my three month old son and available to my daughter and husband. And, above all, there is a fear of change. I have had an amazing three months of being present for my family and now, change is coming. I can't stop the change so it is time to embrace it.

My daughter tonight discovered that same ambivalence about change. She has a guard rail on her bed and has been talking about removing it for some time. Today at nap we finally did it. She seemed to enjoy the freedom until bedtime when she insisted on putting it back. When we said that this was a big girl step, she cried, "But I'm still little!" My heart broke a little bit at hearing her face what we all do--a fear of not being ready for scary change. Tonight we could put the guard rail back...and she can decide when it is time to try again. Other times it won't be so simple, yet the emotions will likely be the same. How can it be time for this? I'm not ready!

Tonight I feel the same way. I'm not ready! My son is too little! I don't want change! I miss work, and right now I suspect that tomorrow I will miss my children more. The unknown seems overwhelming, yet change is the only constant in life. It keeps things interesting, it challenges us to find new qualities within ourselves. I know that in a few weeks, I will discover a new rhythm of balancing my roles as mother, wife, and rabbi. I will find the satisfaction in multitasking and will appreciate my time at home even more because I spend so much time away. My husband will discover new joys in his time with our children on the weekends when I am on the pulpit or at religious school. And, our children will continue to develop resilience as they are surrounded by so many different people who care for their well-being. But for tonight, my daughter and I both will feel a little ambivalent about the forces of change until we wake up tomorrow ready for the challenge!

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