I Wasn’t Expecting That
I went to our town’s old shopping mall one day last week to look for a new bedspread. (I’ve already ordered and returned two.) I didn’t think I would find anything but I decided to give it a try. Our little mall is kind of sad, a shell of its former self. There used to be four department stores, now there is one. The corridors used to be lined with all of the popular stores, now it’s a hodgepodge of locally owned business and discount stores. It doesn’t look anything like it did thirty years ago.
As I crossed the main corridor, from J.C. Penney to Burlington Coat Factory, I glanced to my right. The stores were either closed or unfamiliar. But I did see a young couple with a little boy, about two years old, walking hand in hand. The woman was pregnant, very pregnant. I sighed. No one was really there. It was a memory, a flashback. It was me and my little family.
That spot in the mall jogged a memory.
The Way We Were And The Way We Would Be
I remember the evening well. My husband and I decided to take our little boy out to eat at the cafeteria and walk around the mall a little. I’m sure we took him to the Disney Store to pick out a toy. You see, the next day, our world was going to change. This was our last outing as a family of three. For a little over two years (and nine months) it had been just the three of us. Tears stung my eyes as I realized the significance of the moment. There would never be a time like this again. Everything would change in less than twenty-four hours, thankfully, in a very good way.
It was the night before our second child, a daughter was born.
Of course, I was ecstatic about having a little girl. I couldn’t wait to see her, to hold her. At the same time, I was a little nervous. Would I be able to take care of two children at the same time? How would my son react to his new baby sister? Would the four of us bond as well as the three of us had?
It was a big change but we survived and thrived. Our family of three eased into a family of four without much drama at all — except for our son wanting to let his sister go live with Grandmom after one short week. We had to explain to him that she was, in fact, going to be with us forever.
The anticipation of the change was more traumatic than the change itself.
Things Are Always Changing
We spent a lot of time at that old mall when they were growing up. We looked at the puppies, kittens and fish in the pet store after Sunday lunch at the cafeteria. We even took home a couple of gerbils, but that’s a different story. We shopped for Easter dresses, new shoes and school clothes. The Disney Store was a favorite along with the Dippin’ Dots near the food court. One time, their children’s choir from church performed in the mall. My daughter finally got up the nerve to get her ears pierced in the mall — believe it or not, she was in high school.
About the time they were in high school, a new, more modern shopping center opened across town. Little by little the old mall lost stores and declined in popularity. There once was another shopping mall in our town even before that. It was all the rage when I was in high school. Now it’s a church that I happen to be a member of.
Things are always changing, aren’t they? Babies are born, children grow up and teenagers leave home to attend college. Friends move away and sometimes leave this world for the next. Adult children get married and move away, living their own lives in far away places. Parents, aunts and uncles age and to our surprise, we do too. We somehow go from being in the young marrieds Sunday School class to the Mature Adult Ministry. And all the while we brace against it and sometimes mourn the never-ending changes.
A friend of mine recently posted a memory we shared on Facebook. It was from thirteen years ago, my baby girl’s senior year of high school. I read the comments just for fun. One of my Sunday School girls said that she was dreading graduating from high school and having to say goodbye to everyone. Reading my response to her felt like when the preacher preaches a message that “steps on your toes”.
“It will definitely be a time of change but change is not always a bad thing — think of it as the beginning of an exciting adventure”.
I think it’s about time to take the advice of my younger self and start looking at all of the changes in my life as the beginning of an exciting adventure. Who knows what God has in store for me, even at this stage in my life?
How about you? How do you deal with change? Does it excite you or do you go along kicking and screaming? Do you long for the good old days or do you look to the future with anticipation? I’d love to know.