This evening The Little One finally figured out that if he’s on his hands and knees, he can scoot his knees along to keep up with his hands, and voila! He’s crawling. This is a big step forward (so to speak) because before he would advance with his hands and plant his knees. His mobility when doing this was limited.
I saw him moving along with real joy. I think crawling babies are one of the cutest things in the world. But I also had a moment of terror, as I once again reflected on how things are about to change once more. I now won’t be able to just plant him in the middle of the floor and help The Big One find his shoes. Now I’ll need to carry him along with me, or set up a gate, or something else more responsible. It’s another new phase of learning to do two things at once. It’s not that I don’t think I can do it. I’ve made it this far after all. It’s that I’ve never been that good with transition and change.
I am sure a lot of people feel this way too. I don’t know why anyone else deals with these feelings. Maybe they just like what’s familiar, maybe they don’t like surprises. But I think I figured out why change always has an undercurrent of fear for me. You see, I like how I am now. I like most things about me. I don’t like all of my circumstances, but I at least like how I am for the most part. I know a big part of why I am the way I am now is because of my surroundings. My life is, to some small extent, dictated by what I do with my time. A little change, like a busy stretch at work, makes me pull away from other stuff to accommodate it.
But what about a big change? What about getting married? Having kids? Changing careers? Those aren’t nearly as trivial. For example, before my kids were born, my wife and I both liked to act in plays. I would have said it was a huge part of both of us. After The Big One was born, we had to scale it back. I’ve done a little bit, but not for a while now. My wife stopped entirely. I had the opportunity to direct a show a few years back, but I felt like I missed huge chunks of the baby’s life. So now I don’t. It feels a little like that part of me is gone. That’s where that sense of loss comes from. It’s not so much the surroundings. It’s a small fear of what it does to me.
Of course, defining ourselves by our pastimes is silly. That’s not what makes us who we are. And we should never stay the same. I live life very differently from how I did ten years ago. 2003 Nate was pretty happy too, but I can say with full authority that 2013 Nate is in a much better place. I’ve gotten used to knowing that change is necessary and good. But it doesn’t make it any easier when you’re on the near side of it.