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Molt or Metamorphose: Change Must Come

Perhaps for some women, the transition from girl to woman was like a snake molting its too-short skin. But for me, the change was drastic, like a caterpillar going through metamorphosis. 

I hated the ending of my childhood. Unlike most of my friends, when my body changed I was not a happy camper. About the time I accepted that change, it was time to leave on my mission. Which led to another major transformation and another even more dramatic one when I got back.

I was socially awkward, to put it mildly, those first few months after my return. I suppose I didn’t grow out of it for some time. At least not until I graduated and moved on to full-time work.

That was the moment I thought I had arrived. Finally I could pursue my dream to become the rich aunt and spoil my horde of nieces and nephews, but again, life drew me a different plan.

To make a very long story short, I found I was not happy climbing the corporate ladder. It took some painful experiences to prepare me for another change that I finally realized I wanted. Fortunately, the man who became my husband was patient.

Three children later, I watch them going through their own changes, and I hope theirs will be less jarring. They are now part of my metamorphosis too. Each year that they grow older and more independent, I cringe.

What will I do when I no longer have a little one to cuddle? Will my next transition from mom of young children to mom of *gasp* teenagers be as rough as the years before or will I finally gain the skills to change with finesse?

Though we move roughly every two years, some changes are harder to make. For example, a friend suggested I do some part time work for her company, which I could feasibly do from home, and gave me the contact info for the person I needed to talk to. I've wanted to supplement our income somehow, so I considered it.

What would I say though? I've traded the boardroom for the laundry room and company stats for report cards. How could I possibly sound credible after spending more time with Sesame Street than the Wall Street Journal?

I wish I could say my chat with my friend’s company rep went well, but I stumbled over my words. Words that used to come easy before long nights of interrupted sleep.

I suppose in some way, I've lost my confidence in being able to contribute to a world outside my own even though I've successfully “been there done that.” Yet I know this emergence from my home will come at some stage or I will wither in its empty silence.

Unlike the caterpillar’s one-time change to a butterfly, we women have many cocoons and many metamorphoses. Each stage brings new challenges and adventures.

Moving homes and countries every few years is much easier than the changes done to my soul. Right now, I’m blissfully happy to soar in the comfort of my home and family, something that would not have been likely a few iterations of my self before.

Yes, some of us require more dramatic changes. Those unavoidable and sometimes even painful transformations can be as beautifying as the emergence of a delicate butterfly.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to just molt into the next stage of life rather than undergoing major reconstructive self-surgery, but for now, I just want life to stay the way it is for as long as humanly possible.

Somehow, though, life will throw me the wrench I need to ratchet up and I hope I’ll be better able to embrace it.

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J. blogs about her three precocious children, gluten-free living, life as a nomad and other random things at

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