It’s late May, I’m finishing up my classes at Notre Dame High School, and looking forward to the lazy, crazy days of summer. This is always a bitter sweet time of year for me, as my beloved students head off in new directions, and so do I. Summer is like forcing an update on my operating system just when I’ve acclimated to the old one. I’ll have to learn to function with a whole new set of standards. I feel change blowing in the wind, as I shift from a high pressure system to a low, but I know how to dress for the weather.
My mom was forever reminding me to take a jacket and a tissue wherever I went. When I was young I utilized non-resistance as a survival technique and generally did what I was told. (I can hear my sister howling over this one.) The truth is I did follow the rules but I bent them to meet my needs. For example, in my first decade of life, I had a tendency to get a little loud and out of control at dinner parties, running wild, belching on occasion, along with bursts of obnoxious laughter. My parents expected me to act like a lady at all times, but all their friends had boys, and this was acceptable behavior for males. I figured out early on if I flew under the parental radar, I could be as loud, and frenzied as my male companions. This strategy has stayed with me but I’ve also learned acting like a lady has its own advantages.
After years of leaving coats abandoned on the playground, my mom caved to a more cost effective approach, and let me run wild to keep warm. Life happens, ready or not, and if you’re anything like me you put up a little non-resistance. I remember when Larry walked in the door, months after our first child was born, and said, “Honey, we’re moving to Kansas.” He was promoted. I was not impressed. Mothering was something I was non-resisting at the time and I was not happy about leaving my entire support system behind. I tried to ignore the impending move until a gigantic van showed up at our apartment and packed up all my things. There was no flying under the radar this time. My bags were packed but I wasn’t ready to go. I imagined a future of tumble weeds, crying babies, and prairie dogs. I started shopping for a pair of red shoes.
We moved to Overland Park, Kansas in January of 1988, and weirdly enough it was a good thing. We only had each other so our relationship flourished, I was surrounded by stay-at-home moms with strong mothering skills, and every house had 3.2 kids and a dog. I was living in Pleaseantville but in full color. We met the salt of the earth kind of people, made wonderful memories, and I learned to stop resisting change (or at least showed signs of improvement). By the time we left Kansas, I was pregnant with my third child (trying to keep up with the Jones’ literally), but this time I was going with the flow (at least until the kids hit puberty).
Shit happens, but resistance doesn’t help, in my experience it creates a secondary set of problems. If you get hit with a tax bill pay it, if you can’t sleep at night pray for someone, if you get stuck in traffic look around, you might recognize yourself in the car beside you. Instead of complaining I can figure out how to help. I can be open to new opportunities instead of flying under the radar. I might even learn a thing or two along the way. On a deeper level I trust that I have what I need, a coat, a tissue, and a kick ass attitude. That is how you dress for the weather.