My mother bought be a little plaque many years ago that simply said:
It was and is one of my favorite gifts because it represented something that continues to apply to my life...change...
I don't know anyone that likes to deal with major change. We all want to stay in our comfort zone even when our comfort zone isn't so comfortable anymore if that makes any sense at all.
I can think of 3 pivotal events in my life that have shook me to my core and forced me to forge a new path...
My parents separation/divorce when I was 8 years old.
I don't know any child who hasn't suffered in the breakup of a family. I was one of those naive kids who never saw it coming. I was young and sheltered. When my parents separated, we lost our home, our friends, our school, and everything we knew as kids. We moved out of state to a new place with a mom that no longer stayed home and became latch key kids. You know what though? I can't imagine my life if my parents had actually stayed married. Would I have learned what it meant to be a working mother? Would I have learned what it meant to WANT? We were pretty spoiled with a sense of entitlement when my parents were married and my father earned a good wage. When they divorced, we lived in a tiny apartment where I shared a room with my sister and wore hand me down clothes from cousins. My mother slept on the couch when she actually slept. We no longer took dance classes, music classes, etc I learned to be grateful. I learned to appreciate hard work in a way I question I would have learned had my parents stayed married.
My own divorce from a long time high school sweetheart who I married at 22 and separated from within 3 months.
Most people who know me now but didn't know me as a young adult are surprised to learn I was once married (briefly) before. After my parents divorce, this was probably the biggest upheaval in my life to that point. I met my first husband in high school. We married when I graduated from college, a long engagement with lots of planning and thousands of dollars spent on a wedding. The details don't really matter at this point or for this story. Long story short, we were young and naive to the advice that sometimes you need to find yourself before you take steps to do the grown up thing called marriage. But divorcing was painful because I truly expected that my life path was set with this person. Suddenly that wasn't the case and I had no idea what to do with myself. It was this event that actually was the reason my mother purchased the gift of that plaque with the quote. I had it on my nightstand to look at every evening. As painful as this time period was, I have to say the period that followed was one of the most joyous. Being a young twenty something with the freedom to do whatever I wanted wherever I wanted was an exciting feeling. I forged a new career I would have never begun had I not divorced. I moved across the country and started a life in a wonderful exciting place that I now call my home. I met and married my second husband and had 2 wonderful kids. I can't imagine my life now had I stayed married and never found myself and frankly grown the heck up before having children.
My daughter's diagnosis with diabetes.
And so almost 2 decades later, here I am again adjusting the sails. If my parents divorce and then my own divorce shook me up, watching my child almost lose her life and now fight an incurable disease has shook me to my core. I know there is nothing I could have done to prevent diabetes entering our lives. I know I am relieved her life was saved. I know I am incredibly blessed that we live in a day and age that her life could be saved. But the day to day living with diabetes is exhausting and grueling on all of us. Learning to understand how each morsel of food effects blood glucose is complex and not always easy to follow. Thinking about things like drivers licenses, being left home alone, sleepovers, sports, etc is challenging to sat the least. Type 1 diabetes has changed the way we do things. And we can't change that it is a part of our lives. But like the quote says, we can adjust the sails. We can still live life the way we want to live life...with adjustments. And like the other events mentioned, there are things about my life that have changed and diabetes as much as I despise it HAS opened my life up in new directions. I'm learning what it means to be healthy. I'm learning what it means to be a healthy role model. I'm learning patience. I'm learning compassion in a way I never have before. I'm learning that while my daughter can be super sensitive and super dramatic, she is also super strong and super brave.
I'm kind of sad because at some point in one of our moves, I lost that treasured plaque. But I've never lost the meaning of that plaque. And that was the most important part of that gift. Sometimes change happens. Don't go down with the ship. Just adjust the sails and keep on sailing.