"Is Daddy changing jobs?"
"I don't know sweetie."
"Things are kind of complicated." I know that this is a typical adult cop out. It is a cop out I try not to make when I have the ability to find a means of explaining. For those of you who read an earlier post about X and the Twilight Zone, yes, X is Daddy and he reads everything posted. I would never post anything that I have not said or would not say to someone in person. A friend once said, if you write it, consider it published. In college I wrote something, not so flattering, about a roommates boyfriend in a letter to another friend. It was private; it was in my room; and yet, he read it. Lesson learned. Besides, I am just one of those honest people who would rather you hear it from me than heard that I said it or wrote it somewhere else.
Anyway... back to the conversation.
"Daddy has a choice between a new company and his old company. I would like him to choose the new company because his current manager does not treat him very well. The new company is willing to give him more than his old company, but he..."
"... wants to stay with the old company?"
Sigh... "Yes, he does"
Now this is a good question and one that I might not be very qualified to answer as it is something that I don't exactly understand. X and I are alike in so many ways, but when it comes to change, risk, etc... we are completely different people. How do I explain to a 7 year old that people make choices, in many cases, based upon what is comfortable over what they desire or even, in some cases, what they deserve? how do I explain that, unlike me, change scares many; that they are willing to stay in a weird or even bad situation rather than "change." That they project something different and new to be a negative experience, not realizing that it doesn't have to be negative and, if it is, they can change again. Where I find security in dynamic situations/change; X likes consistency and stability. And because she is just 7 and enjoys a stable life, most of this is quite abstract to her.
So we talked about change and choices and about taking risks. That if you take a chance, you might learn something new. If you don't like that change, you can change again. That you don't know if you like something unless you try it. I did not venture into "what if" or "regret" which is something that is a little beyond her at the moment.
After I explained it in real words; I put it into a form that I hoped she would understand.
"You know how you like pasta? And whenever there is something new to try, you choose pasta because it is safe and you are comfortable with pasta?"
"Well, it is kind of like that. Daddy knows pasta; he is happy with pasta. Even though pasta might hurt his tummy from time to time, he likes pasta."
"But pasta doesn't hurt my tummy."
Laughing... "No, it doesn't. This is a metaphor. I am trying to explain this in a different way. Sometimes you try something new. You take a risk. Sometimes you even like the new thing."
"But Daddy just wants the pasta."
"Yes, sweetie, I think that daddy just wants the pasta and doesn't want to try something different right now."
I think that this took longer to type than the actual conversation!
The situation that X is experiencing is very difficult for me. Usually I am quite good at remaining objective and allowing people to make their own choices. I am happy if they are happy and realize that it is so not my life. This time, well, it is a bit different. X is such a part of our lives though we are not married or living together or anything. For the past year I have listened to him become increasingly more miserable with his work environment. For the past six months I witnessed his complete loss of a personal life as his boss dumped more and more work on him while she left early, spent time with her kids, and did all she could to enjoy her personal life (redecorating her house; having her administrative assistant do her personal work... etc) I hate seeing him treated with disrespect at work when he works so hard and puts so much of his heart into his work. I am having great difficulty remembering that, throughout the time I have known him, he has remained consistent. He and I have very different philosophies about life, work, family etc. This is HIS job; HIS quality of life... NOT mine!
I asked him this evening if he would advise me to stay in a position in which I was treated as he has been treated. he said, no, he would advise me to leave... and yet he doesn't advise himself to do the same. There in lies my frustration...why?