Transitions

You wouldn’t know it by looking out the window this evening, but Spring has solidly hit the Palouse. I have been told that the hills of Montana are already turning brown.  I am staring down the maw of the end of the school year. One big presentation in Pullman left, I allowed Jasper to eat his dinner in front of the computer, end of the year progress reports due soon, Emerald sent me her summer schedule. Summer is looming. It is a transition.

In my work in early intervention we identify and plan for transitions. We do so, because transitions can be stressful events for families. Transition from the NICU to home….a happy event, but think about that first night without nurses on standby and monitors. Scary. Transition from maternity leave to work. “OMG, I soooo need to get out of the house..but who will watch my kid the way that I do???” Transition from early intervention to school based services.  “My baby is growing up, and ready for a bigger world.” Blink your eyes, and they are graduating from high school, moving into college or adult services. Guardianship, depend status, decisions about where to live….life marches on through a series of transitions. Transitions are stressful events for families.

I lived with and loved a public school teacher. He loved the transition from school year to summer. 10 weeks off, a slate to be written upon. Trips, plans, anticipated adventures. I found the same transition stressful. I worked in the summer. My home office was invaded. I was pulled to go, travel, take river trips…have fun. I squeezed trips in between work. I often got home from work in time to pack for a trip, or home from a trip in time to get 6 hours of sleep and return to work. I learned. I learned that packing for the trip needed to be included in vacation time. I learned that getting home at midnight and expecting to be productive the next day was a joke. I also learned that to support Jim in his adventures did not always mean going with…and that “daddy trips” offered me a rare segment of time to work, reflect, get home projects done, and play with my friends in the sanctuary of my home…and my own head space.

Summer is looming…and transitions are stressful. I’m looking at a summer calendar that includes graduation parties, annual inservice training, summer registration for OSU, Rendezvous board commitments, a son that may be taking his last family raft trip, a daughter who already knows her days off through August, and the never-ending yard work and home projects. I know I cannot do it all….and am looking for space in there that mimics a “daddy trip.” I need time to work, to reflect, get projects done….and play. The anticipation of a summer already looking full makes my head spin. On Sunday, exhausted by yard work that is still undone due to weather, I curled into a fetal position in my hammock and cried. I finally said “enough for one day”, cracked open a beer, and read poetry. After a bit, I could then pick myself up and go make dinner for my hard-working son.

I cannot stop Summer from coming. The rain will transition to sun, and I will transition from school year schedule to long summer days. Before I know it, Fall will be looming, Jasper will be off to college, Emerald will be entrenched in her senior year, and my own head space will be driving me crazy. I know that the planet will keep spinning, and revolving around our sun. I have no choice in the matter. What I can do is to stop anticipating what comes next at the cost of enjoying what is here, in front of me, now. I go to bed many nights exhausted…but I always wake up with sweet anticipation and gratefulness for what this one wild and precious day will bring. Transitions happen. I get to choose how I react to them….

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One Response to Transitions

  1. jj says:

    My shrink emphasizes that I am a human being, not a human doing, and that I have to remember that (there’s a difference). Even when I think I’ve got it down, getting everyone around me to respect that is sometimes a challenge. It’s difficult to explain why staying home, with the katz and the books and the tea/wine (and *not* worrying about the garden, or the chores, or even the dozen emails I “owe” people), is not only charming and appealing but necessary. “Oh, that sounds nice…I should do that.” Yes, folks, yes, you should. And if someone else is, you should leave them to it…you should.

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