Sara Whitman

Change and Change Again

Filed By Sara Whitman | October 22, 2009 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: future plans, growing pains, new stage of life

I'm listening to Zachary and Jake wrestle upstairs- they are sharing a room so my sister can stay here. She has been half the time in Ogunquit, half the time here. I've become quite spoiled- she helps with the cooking, shopping and laundry. I gotta tell you, it's pretty nice. Not to mention to have someone here in the house when Ben gets home and I have to be out picking up Zachary...

I'm not someone who adjusts easily to change, but slowly, over time, I've come to see my sister's being here as wonderful. (And not just because she reads my blog) Yes, the house is very full with six of us, two big dogs, and one very lonely cat who has decided to be a dog, too (I must get a picture of her between the two of them, snuggling). Yes, I do not get the same amount of quiet time as I used to. But there is something really special about watching the boys grow in their relationship to her. To watch her change, before my eyes, into a person who is not obese, who is not dependent on people who are using her, who is starting to see some value in herself.

Oh, she still drives me nuts. She is my sister, after all. But I realize I wouldn't trade it. I wouldn't want her to leave.

And Jake and Zachary seem to enjoy the close proximity- although there have been a few skirmishes about Jake having the nerve to actually touch stuff in Zach's room. After a few days, Jake goes back to his room, all is calm again.

We were all watching glee last night- yes, we lifted the no tv rule because Ben had asked to watch glee- it was the end of a good night. The stove had started smokin' bad when I went to preheat it to make some dinner, so we ended up with pizza and a salad.

Happy boys.

And chocolate cake- Morgan really did send me a cake. I loved that. I told the family that Jeanine may bring home the bacon but I brought home chocolate cake.

Jake said, there is bacon??

But as we watched that show, I realized something. This may seem silly but... I realized I'm almost fifty. That in nine years, the boys will all be out of the house. We've been trying to figure out if we redo the garage into a carriage house- something that will require a ridiculous amount of paperwork and permits- or add on to the house, which would be less paperwork but more chaos. In the meantime, we've stalled on some basic things because we don't know what we're going to do and it seems silly to, say, paint the house if we're going to tear part of it down.

In four years, Ben will be gone. My first bird will have flown.

For some reason, it hit me hard. After everyone went to bed, Jeanine and I talked. What do you see in ten years? I've always thought we'd sell this house, buy a condo in Boston, and spend half our time in Ogunquit. Jeanine agreed. We discussed instead of adding on anything, maybe all we needed to do was to redo the basement so the boys could have a 'hang out space.'

I stopped, for a moment last night, and didn't think about how to get through the next day, week, but what was on the far horizon. We no longer have years and years before we'll be on our own. And I know now, there are some things I will not compromise on- I can never go back to Jeanine working in the film industry. It was awful. Never again. I'm no longer so insecure about myself that I have to give everything over to please someone, in hopes they will love me.

Fifty. I'm almost fifty. It's not a bad thing, by any means. More of a realization. I'm not going to find a great career I love. I'm not someone anyone would hire, for the most part. I'm not willing to be an intern of any sorts and my qualifications are random, hardly contactable dots.

I'm good with kids, but please, don't ask mine.

What is next? What will Jeanine's work look like? What will mine? Will we move sooner, if Jake is in a private school? Will we still have the same paint coating the walls of our house?

I honestly don't know. All I know is that we have entered a stage of life that is very different from the last one. It requires thought and planning. I can no longer wing it from day to day. I no longer bounce back as quickly as I once did.

It's new and the same. Mostly, it is the first change of life that I am not anxious about or afraid of. I enter it with an amazing family all around me. I've donned many different hats, tried many different things so far in my life. What feels different is how capable I am.

I do not like change. This time, though, I will be ready.

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | October 22, 2009 10:07 PM

Sara, that was a lovely look at your home life. Fear of change?, embrace change, it is inevitable.
Change doesn't give you a choice. It is just there.

Do we enjoy all change, no, but what we might enjoy has little to do with successful aging. Closing in on 50 was mildly annoying for me, but from the perspective of being 56, let me tell you it really gets better.

You are sooo right not to expand the house and to plan on something smaller/easier when you can determine that large animals are a lower priority. More space means more to heat and more to insure and I don't know the age spread of your children, but it sounds like you could have one or two in college at any time beginning in four and ending in thirteen years.

Imagine getting the last one out with a BA when you are in your early 60's. :) We haven't discussed grad school yet...

OK so hand each kid a paint brush and a quadrant of the house to get started on next Spring. You supervise from a lawn chair and dole out the lemonade.

I recently took visitors (friends of friends) in my car to an amazing seaside lunch, mountain Wat complex, Chinese museum, Buddha carved into the side of a mountain and vineyard. They were beside themselves that on brief acquaintance I would take them to places they could never have found. They expressed great gratitude.

I responded that I don't do anything any more that I don't want to do. That was the first time I had ever said that and got to mean it.

What's the no TV rule? I mean, Glee is the perfect excuse to break it, but I'm curious what the rule is. :)

we don't let the kids watch tv during the week. too much other stuff going on.

besides, I have a general distaste of televsion.