Tabitha gave me a new bathrobe for Christmas. She's been telling me for years that my former one was "so big you can swim in it, Mom, and not soft enough for someone like you." I'm not sure what the last part means, but she's right--my former robe was one I stole from Darrin years ago when he left for the summer to work in New York. It smelled like him and made me miss him less. I've been balking at replacement because:
1. I rarely wear my bathrobe.
2. I like the association with Darrin.
3. I didn't feel a need for a new one.
However, my new robe is soft and very warm, and since it was made for someone my size I don't have to keep tightening the belt to keep it from falling off. The old bathrobe was made of heavy terry cloth. The sleeves were cavernous and I could wrap the robe around me twice. Most annoying was the tag at the back of the neck which chafed. I would fold down the neckline so the tag faced outward to avoid the rough tag, which made the robe even more ungainly.
When Tabitha would say, "Mom, you need a new bathrobe," I would remind her that I have a bathrobe, and I was unhappy with spending fifty dollars for something I wear about 15 minutes daily. Her reply was that I could shop around, find one on sale, spend less, and find something more comfortable that wasn't enormous on me and was less ugly. I'd mumble something about replacing the robe when it wore out. She'd counter with the fact that something as hideous and huge as my bathrobe would never wear out. She's probably right. And when I finally wore the new robe for the first time I felt completely silly for waiting so long to find something that fit and felt better.
I have a number of uncomfortable habits and coping devices I've been holding onto for many years. I keep them around because change requires investment of time and sometimes money--and I don't know if the result will be any better than what I currently have. For a time, those habits brought me comfort when I had no other options. In my head, I hear Tabitha saying, "Mom, you need new ways to deal with things--some that will fit better and feel better in the long run."
And she's right. It's time for me to make some changes. My fear is that when I do, I'll end up more stressed and less able to cope with life, and ultimately more lonely and sad. But the truth is that the end result will probably be more like this lovely new bathrobe--softer, more comfortable, warmer, and tailored to fit who I really am.
I realized as I discarded the old robe that it's incredibly heavy. I would wear it only briefly because of the discomfort it gave me, and it ceased reminding me of Darrin long ago--which is good because Darrin is here with me now and I don't really need a reminder of him. There is nothing I miss about that old raggedy thing I've clung to for so many years.
Once again, I feel silly.
So I will begin with just one change for the better. I made a list of habits and disorders that need work when I last visited with Therapist, and we came up with some healthy strategies to loosen their hold on me a little at a time. When I got home I felt overwhelmed with trying to stick to the list we made, so I'm releasing the list and choosing one thing only. When I'm able to successfully do that one thing, I'll add the next item and I'll keep doing this until I've made it successfully to the end of our list because I'm tired of wearing the old, heavy, worn-out habits. It's time for something new--something better. And Tabitha would remind me, as so many other loved ones have, that I'm worth the cost because I'm someone wonderful.
And now I will shed this lovely new bathrobe so I can go to the gym and work up a sweat. Lounging time is over.