Sunday, October 6, 2013

Expect People to Change, and Expect People to Stay the Same

I just got back from a business trip to Wilmington, where I had the really amazing opportunity to train some early childhood teachers in language and literacy.  And the best part is, my sister drove up to visit with me while I was there!  We went out for dinner and to see a band play.  Or, well, to see a girl and her mama sing some beautiful harmonies.  It was great fun. 

One of the songs I just loved included these lyrics: 

"A quiet line:  I hope you can love me a long time."
"I hope you can see me through... I hope you can love who I might be."

And that just speaks to me so much about relationships.  I think that the best thing about my marriage is that we expect one another to change, and embrace that change as progress.  And I have such confidence that I will love whoever my hubby becomes.  But I also think that there is a bit of truth to the opposite idea--that I need to love my husband even if he never changes.  It's a delicate and interesting thing to me to fully accept and love someone as they are but also to be prepared to continue to accept the new parts of them that emerge with time. 

I do hope that I can fully love my wonderful family as they are now, and as they will one day be.  I try to be vague in my expectations for my daughter's future, so as not to make her feel that I have preconceived ideas of "who she might be."  I try not to say, "One day when you get married.." or "One day when you have kids..." or "One day when you go to grad school..."  Because what if my little one wants to one day not get married or not to have children or not to go to grad school.  I want her to know that no matter what she chooses and who she might one day be, I can love her and will love her. 

I think, too, of my sister and my very best friends and how they have stayed so much the same all these years and how much I love that I can predict how they might respond to this or that situation...but then, too, I love that they continue to grow and change and surprise me now and then, too. 

It's something so interesting to me that both can be true:  that we must expect people to change, and also expect them to stay the same.  We can't expect people to change who they are, because that's not loving them as they are.  But we can't expect them to stay the same, because life shapes us and we grow and learn every single day. 

Hah, well, you can probably tell I am jet-lagged by my ramblings!  But I'd love to hear what you think about this idea.  Do you think that both of these opposites can be true? 

How have you changed in the last few years?  How have the people you love changed?  Do you frame these changes as fearful or as positive?

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