“You’re not very good with change,” he says.
“You worry too much. And stop trying to process everything at once. One thing at a time.”
There’s so much new, so much shifting, so much more stuff.
I tell myself this isn’t entirely unfamiliar territory. After all, we’ve been more or less living together off and on. Still, there are advantages to certain aspects of life cast in stone, though even as I form those words, I know that no such thing exists.
I recognize my recent hypersensitivity: new software, new hardware, new service providers, and now two new remotes that seem to be sending me over the edge. All I wanted was a bundled media package to save a few bucks, and I wind up with an incomprehensible system, a missing box, and a headache. In more ways than one.
I’m fumbling with buttons that my fingers used to know in the dark. Not only am I stumped by plastic and wires, but if I have to retain one more user name, password, PIN, or secret answer, my brain will explode!
I tell myself I should be fine with this, but I’m fretful and annoyed. The spices have been moved. The coffee container is dangerously low. The bed isn’t made.
“Mountains out of a molehill,” my Adult Voice chides.
I mutter to myself: I know.
I worry over my carefully constructed routine on which I depend to make a living. How do I find a different working rhythm? What if he expects more of me than I can possibly provide? Where do I set the logistical boundaries? Why does this suddenly feel so damn hard?
My son speaks again and he’s reassuring. He’s holding the remotes and he repeats: “one thing at a time.”
I’m recalling a Sex and the City episode. Season 2, possibly 3. Miranda is propped up in bed with Steve nearby as she fusses over the way he tosses his clothes. He grins and asks for a drawer, then tells her what he really wants is to move in. Her expression is something akin to the proverbial deer caught in the headlights.
She tells him “I need my space” – and I empathize.
Then again, maybe I’m not Miranda. Maybe I’m Big: “You have your place, I have mine.”
This is not the same as living with children. I’m used to that. It’s my “normal.” Why is this so hard? What am I afraid of?
I have spoken to him of my need for quiet in the morning. I have spoken to him of my schedule and its importance. I have no need to explain what occurs with interruptions: He’s seen me wild-eyed if he talks when I’m working. The sound of his voice – any voice – breaks my process.
My boys have learned these lessons of living in close quarters, and did so at a very young age: Mom is in her office, Mom is at her computer, Mom is not to be disturbed… unless of course there’s blood.
I smile at the memory of that rule and their good-natured adherence. When home is also the workplace, clear boundaries are a must.
There will need to be talk, reminders, negotiation, more talk. There will need to be listening – mine as well as his.
We have that down. But I’m not good with change, this change, so much change. Then I ask myself – what’s changing, really?
I glance at the remotes again, miffed at the phone calls still to be made, the return visit, the unavoidable disruption. When did life become so complicated, even when you’re trying to simplify?
And I hear my son’s words, wise and soothing. One thing at a time – one part of the closet cleared out, one half of the bathroom counter for him, one function on the remote. One deep breath.
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