By Cathy Mayfield
CHANGE WAS BEGINNING
Before my eyes, change happened. And so, her nonfiction fairytale came true. The wedding guests went home. The decorations dismantled. The couple left for the rest of their lives. And the mother-of-the-bride?
She went to bed.
But the next morning, a miracle happened. This mother of three homeschooled daughters, one who did all she could to see her daughters happy, the one who knew the day after this final wedding would find her drenched in years of held-in-check tears, woke up. And as did, she declared, “Today is the start of a brand-new life and I will embrace it!”
About 39 years before, the first major change in my life occurred when I married my high school sweetheart. I’d spent years planning to follow my aunt’s footsteps to Millersville State Teacher’s College in Pennsylvania. Instead, I got married.
Two years later, the ashes of my teaching dream mingled with the dust as I cleaned out our apartment to move to Columbus, Oh, where, in place of my degree, I would put my husband through college. Change became my arch enemy.
With his technician’s diploma tucked in one of the packing boxes, Kevin drove us back to PA for a “better life.” It proved a futile thought. Another job lay-off, but this one with a baby on the way.
I settled into my skin and relished being a mother. Kevin settled into a job where he still works almost 35 years later. We moved into the bottom half of an old farmhouse. Daughter number two tagged along two years later.
During my bed rest from premature labor, I discovered what would become the best battle I ever lost with the war on change. No, I didn’t get to go to college and get a teaching degree, but God still made me a teacher. An article in a magazine led me into the amazing world of homeschooling.
The next 30 years fulfilled my teaching desires. Sure, changes came: moving five times, loving and losing five dogs and one cat, and saying goodbye to beloved grandparents. But through all those, I had the one constant … homeschooling, with our daughters’ lives lived out 24/7 in our home. I loved being their mother, teacher, confidante, and friend.
Of course, this close relationship would make it harder when they graduated and went on to their own lives. I dreaded the day they’d take their diploma from my hands, kiss me on the cheek, and declare their independence. But through some fate of God’s design, it didn’t happen that way. One daughter moved into an apartment over her grandmother’s home about a year before she got married at twenty-six. Another lived at home and abroad on missions’ trips until almost thirty.
That left the youngest at home, the one who declared she’d never leave me. A pie-crust promise, but I delighted in it. By this time, Change had grown a capital C and became a general, while I’d been demoted to a lowly cadet. Depression and anxiety reigned, brought on by the hardest change ever: my beloved father died as a cancer-ridden shell of the man he’d been for all my life.
CHANGE TAKES HOLD
And then, as I feared it would, that little girl’s promise had to be broken. She met her prince and chose a June wedding. That final change loomed, growing larger and more powerful every hour. The General leered at me, taunted me, reveled in his final victory-to-come, and I knew he’d win the war.
The pastor said, “Do you take this man? … Do you take this woman? … I now pronounce you ….”
It was over. I went home and went to bed, fearing what the morning would bring.
As sunlight struggled to rise above the mountain behind our house, I got up, slipped on my slippers, brushed my hair, and looked in the mirror. And it happened. The miracle. It didn’t come after a quiet time of praying for God’s deliverance. It didn’t happen as I begged for mercy to get through the day or the next minute.
No. As I looked at the mother-of-the-bride-now-empty-nester, I smiled and simply said, “It’s a brand-new life and I’m going to embrace it.” And I have.
God granted me a miracle of mercy that morning. I made the decision to accept it and plan to take each month as it comes, filling them with new adventures. And change? It got demoted to cadet and I won the war.
Meet Guest Blogger: Cathy Mayfield lives in rural PA with her husband and a lively German shepherd mix. She enjoys reading to her grandchildren, doing heirloom crafts, and teaching anywhere she can. Her publications include Penned from the Heart¸ Lighthouse Network, and Guideposts. Her blog at www.legaciesletloose.com exists to connect people through stories.