A Little Leeway

by Belinda Munoz on August 25, 2010

Bathed.  Brushed.  Regaled with made-up stories.  Read to with special effects.

Such is the bedtime routine for a certain pre-schooler I adore.

Sometimes, there’s fussing, crying or full-on histrionic tantrums that, every now and then, threaten to push me to the edge.  Other times, there’s laughing, loads of silly antics or noisy good fun sure to keep us going past his bedtime.  I much prefer the latter but alas, I’d be mistaken, in denial or on a serious head trip if I said I had a choice in the matter.

Still, I look forward to this routine every night.

Some nights, I miss out on this epilogue.  When I do, I sneak a few minutes staring at his sleeping face.  Angelic.  Peaceful.  Divine.  I get a hit; not the full effect but just enough to take the edge off.  Then, I make it up the following day.

These are only a few of the dependable things I do that sustain me.

Wrapped in this routine are ordinary moments that help define me, challenge me, season me.

These moments, whether I’m in the right frame of mind or not, nourish me.

But, these moments?  They don’t last forever.

Nothing ever seems to.

Change always comes.

Often, I adapt pretty well.

Sometimes, change can be a bit cruel, causing me to need a little time, a little encouragement, a little compassion, a little understanding.  A little leeway.

I know this about me.

And you?

I suspect this is more or less true for you, too.  And for him, too, over there, oceans away.  And for her, too, way out there, generations away.  And for them, too, way over yonder, on a whole other philosophical, religious, artistic, emotional, intellectual or hermeneutic ballpark.

Such seeming distance can sometimes eclipse how much we have in common.  (Like needing food, shelter, clothing, drinking water, clean air, respect, love, expression, you know what I mean.)

Still, I’d like to believe that there’s hope of meeting each other halfway.

Is there?

We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. ~ Maya Angelou


  1. Like me, do you find yourself needing a little leeway sometimes?
  2. What do you hold close?  What nourishes you?
  3. What can you depend on to sustain you?  How do you feel when it changes?
  4. What defines you, challenges you, seasons you?
  5. What do you worry about that you wish you didn’t?


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aging Mommy August 25, 2010 at 5:58 am

I like change, I always have craved the something new in life throughout adulthood. Having my daughter is what has, for now, finally grounded me. She is very routine focused and is nourished by the constants in her life – place, events, people, all of it familiar equals happiness for her. But apparently talking to my parents about this after our vacation (for my daughter the best part was coming back home again) I was like that as a young child too. So I wonder what determines a change in attitude to change if one occurs. Nature plays a part for sure but also circumstance I am convinced, as once I started my adventures I kept on wanting more.


2 The Exception August 25, 2010 at 8:23 am

I had to respond to Aging Mommy –
I am the same… love change and my daughter is as you describe yours – the best part of a vacation is returning home to stability. My parents say I was the same when I was younger and yet that is a person I don’t remember being… except I didn’t like sleep away camps. My daughter is nearing 11, and in the past six months she has begun to embrace adventure from our trip to Europe in June to her theater camp in July and now advanced rock climbing with older boys. She has the chance to be an Ambassador to Canada next summer… and what gives her pause is the sleeping away form home for a while. I think some personalities grow to love change while others don’t – and it is probably much of what you state above. Great comment!


3 The Exception August 25, 2010 at 8:19 am

The little things that connect us – it is interesting how they differ and yet how they are the same. My daughter and I share reading time each night. Sometimes we share an audio book, sometimes we read our own books – but we do it together. It is a time we both enjoy. Our walks are a ritual that we have difficulty giving up each summer for weeks at a time – but we adapt and then are thrilled to have them back. These walks are probably challenges, tests, and growing periods for both of us form time to time.

And I definitely need a little leeway from time to time!


4 rob white August 25, 2010 at 8:37 am

Hi Belinda,
I am one who seeks and thrives on change. Once we understand that it is our natural inclination to grow and change we become restless with stagnation. Of course losing loved ones or worrying about the day our health deteriorates is something we need not entertain too long… but it is the reality. Focusing our attention on our grand aspirations and aims is the way to welcome the grand changes that are afoot for us all.


5 Justine August 25, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I adore this post Belinda, because it seems to mirror my exact sentiments about change. I’m open to it, and I’m even excited for new possibilities but sometimes I need time to adapt, to warm to the idea before I am able to alter a path in my journey. However, I do feel that as long as I have my family on my side, there is little that I am unable to face. And sometimes, that thought scares me too because that also means the one change I cannot, will not accept is being without them someday. They are the air that I breathe.

But that last part of this post is a good reminder for me to hold dear those I left behind and instead of what I did last week on my blog, which was to highlight the chasm between us, I should instead focus on the bridges that keep us close. Their blood, after all, does course through my own veins. Change does not come easy to one person, let alone a collective whole, so I should learn to be patient with that which divides us.

Thank you for this.

Like me, do you find yourself needing a little leeway sometimes?
What do you hold close? What nourishes you?
What can you depend on to sustain you? How do you feel when it changes?
What defines you, challenges you, seasons you?
What do you worry about that you wish you didn’t?


6 Justine August 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Sorry about your questions appearing on my comment – it was to help me organize my thoughts and I’d forgotten to erase them before posting. Oops! Feel free to erase :)


7 TheKitchenWitch August 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I’ve always resisted change. Miss D. thrives on it, and I think Miss M. is showing the same tendency. Be still, my beige, tethered heart.


8 Sara Healy August 25, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Belinda — Excellent post and questions! I love what you said about change.

When reading the questions, the question that jumped at me is: What can you depend on to sustain you? How do you feel when it changes?

When I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of nurturing people. What I did have was an inner voice (not a real voice:~), but one that constantly helped me get through tough times. I see this voice reflected in my old journals. It’s always been there to remind me of my strengths, even when I feel like I’m falling apart.

How do I feel when it changes? If my inner voice is silent for a long time, it feels like I’m a boat without a rudder…sort of drifting. On the other hand, as I’ve grown older…the voice has become much more outspoken. I think this one reason I continue to write and blog…I want to encourage others to listen to their own wise voices.

p.s. The Exception is doing a guest post at my site tomorrow, Thursday. I hope you will stop by for visit, if you can.


9 Tessa August 25, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Oh so true. We all struggle and rejoice with the same range of emotions. Meeting halfway is certainly the place to start.


10 Kate August 25, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I love the idea that experiences season us. Like lots of good meals in a cast iron pot. What makes me stronger, more able? Family. This week, I have found strange joy in our new early mornings. The cuddles, reading a wake up book, the shared meal.


11 Meg - Minimalist Woman August 26, 2010 at 5:13 am

I don’t like change until I can’t stand it, and then I MUST have change. Once changed, I then return to not liking change. Does this make me similar to some ocean-bottom life form, rarely noticed until out of necessity it scuttles to a new pocket in the sand? And yes, I worry about everything and wish I worried about none of it. :}


12 Tony Single August 26, 2010 at 6:46 am

1. Always.

2. Cass for sure. My capacity to feel openly and without guile.

3. I can depend on nothing if everything is only going to up and change on me. Mayhap I can depend on God, but I question even that at times.

4. Perhaps what I don’t know defines me.

5. Everything and nothing. If you were in my brain, you’d understand. :P

Great read, Belinda, as always. :)


13 Stephen August 26, 2010 at 7:49 am

1) Yes.
2) My family.
3) My family, and I feel scared when that changes. Although I sense something more, but difficult to unpack, spirit maybe.
4) Change and facing my fears which are many.
5) Financial security.


14 Nadia Ballas-Ruta ~ Happy Lotus Lifestyles August 26, 2010 at 9:01 am

Hey Belinda,

I learned a long time ago that change is a wonderful thing. Life is meant to evolve and we are meant to grow. Stagnation is death.

People come into our lives for reasons and when those reasons have been met, they leave and other people come into our lives. Some people stay with us until our time is up.

I think the only person who can really nurture us as we want to be nurtured is ourselves. I think when we look to others to make us feel better, we open a can of worms. I have found that when I look to myself for comfort, people mirror that back to me. We teach others have to treat us.

The company we keep is really important. I surround myself with people who are positive and see beauty in life. I try to minimize my exposure to those who are negative and doubtful.

We are all dealing with the same issues and struggles. We are more like than we are different. And I truly think life is a beautiful journey. Love always triumphs over fear. It is just that fear seems more powerful since it is all over on the news. The world is full of good people…they just don’t make headlines.


15 Christine LaRocque August 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

“Wrapped in this routine,” oh yes how comforting routine is. How I depend on it! And the nights that I miss out on it often set me a bit off ceveourse. Like tonight for example. I suspect we are all alike in this in some way, even those who claim no routine I would argue have just a different form of routine.

I too struggle with change, and crave it at the same time. It’s a constant push and pull in my life that keeps just slightly off balance.



16 Madeleine Kolb August 26, 2010 at 5:43 pm

1. Yes, I need a little leeway at times.
2. I hold close my relationships with my BF and my daughter.
3. To sustain me, I depend on communication–writing, reading, speaking, and conversation; cooking and sharing healthful meals with my BF; being outdoors; music; and humor. The same things also define me to an extent.
4. Learning complex new things–mental or physical–challenges me.
5. I worry about health, but not obsessively. I’m doing everything I can to be healthy, but one never knows what may come.


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