Change and I always had a symbiotic relationship.

Growing up, I moved with my family every three years because of my father's career in the military. New house, new school, new friends -- I could adjust to anything at a snap of the fingers.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered my knack for adapting has suddenly vanished.

A rent spike forced the closure of the Gymboree where my 23-month-old daughter, Carolyn, met her first friends and could run and jump without a scolding. On her last day there, she waved goodbye in her usual good-natured manner, while I stood in the doorway with tears in my eyes.

(Keith Eric Williams/The Kansas City Star/MCT)

A few days later, I had to give notice to our nanny of 18 months, a woman who has become like a member of the family. Scheduling conflicts and harsh financial realities led me earlier than expected down the inevitable path of enrolling my daughter in preschool. Even the thought of it gave me butterflies.

Meanwhile, I am now six weeks into parenting a 4-month-old puppy, who is nothing like the mild-mannered 7-year-old dog whom I also raised from puppyhood. This new whirlwind of fur has disemboweled two stuffed dog toys, left teeth marks in a dozen baby toys and three shoes, and piddled on everything except her dog potty pads, each of which she has torn into a hundred tiny pieces. She is turning our house upside down.

I get it. Change is part of life. Things you never thought could happen are suddenly happening, every day, all around the world. Princess Diana's "little boy" is going to be a father. The pope is on Twitter. Even those changes, which have no direct affect on me, seem to unbalance life as I know it.

None of my changes is monumentally life-altering, not the way that losing a job or battling a fatal disease might be. In a sense, that's the point. These are the everyday bends in the road that crop up all the time. In the past, I would simply take a deep breath and plow right through them.

Why, suddenly, are sleepless nights and emotional turmoil the hallmarks of daily life?

My husband thinks that he and my 16-year-old stepdaughter are to blame. He and Dana are comfort-zone people -- they avoid change if at all possible, and they consider anything done twice to be a new tradition. How else do we explain Dana wanting to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" every December since she first saw it at age 9?

"Maybe its contagious," my husband said of my new aversion to change.

He might be on to something. In the past decade, I've planted firm roots for the first time. I've worked in the same office, lived in the same town and taken the same family vacation every year to my sister-in-law's weekend home. There is something very comforting in knowing what to expect.

But same-old can get a little stale, too, so I'm trying once again to embrace the changes in my life. And the fact is, a step back usually reveals the silver lining that isn't always easy to see when change first hits.

Had Gymboree never closed, Carolyn and I might not have visited the library so soon or discovered a new indoor children's play area in town. It's enlightening to see the wonder in my child's face as she discovers something for the first time.

Had our day care circumstances not changed, we might not fully appreciate how incredible our nanny has been or how socialization in a school setting might benefit Carolyn. On a tour of her future school, Carolyn showed apt interest in the other students -- and the huge outdoor play yard.

Had our new puppy not arrived like a whirlwind, we might have missed those subtle signs of her potential as a good family dog, especially as she plays with our toddler and cuddles with our teenager.

Yes, I'm trying to embrace change again.

Just don't expect me to start following the pope on Twitter any time soon.

Ann Tatko-Peterson is the digital features editor. Contact her at atatko@bayareanewsgroup.com, and follow her at Twitter.com/atatkopeterson.

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