Almost every morning, one of the little girls I take care of in my daycare arrives with a very recognizable scream. I often hear her well before she makes it in the front door — much to her Mother’s chagrin (poor Mama). She is a wonderfully smart, loving child who has been in my care almost all of her four years of life. Yet, at least three days a week, this is her routine.
The other day, as I waited for the school bus with my children, my neighbor told me he heard a child screaming in front of my house that she wanted to go home. Normally, I would feel defensive (since I’m a bit of a Mama bear with all my kids – daycare ones included), but I knew he wasn’t trying to insinuate anything and I could tell he thought it was somehow endearing. I smiled and said, “Yes, that is one of my four-year-olds. At the end of the day, she will sometimes scream that she doesn’t want to go home. It’s normal, many of the kids do it. Sometimes children have difficulty with transitions.”
That is when another neighbor – a mom of a kindergartner I don’t know that well – said, “Transitions are difficult at any age.”
I paused and nodded my head. Her comment rang in my head all day. Yes, transitions are difficult. In fact, sometimes they feel impossible. And sometimes you don’t even realize you are in a transition until you come out on the other side.
I admire the people who glide from stage to stage in life without seeming to break a sweat. You know, the people who look forward to the day their kids are all in school… or are able to drive themselves places… or able to stay home without a babysitter. I, on the other hand, am not a graceful transitioner. I obsess over every stage that comes and goes and I worry incessantly about what will come next – for me and for my family.
I think about what I will do when my youngest goes off to kindergarten in two years much too often. Or when my oldest leaves for college in three years. I want many things for myself and want to make changes, but I wonder if wanting these things are too selfish. I change my mind repeatedly — partly because of fear of what comes next. I worry what all these potential transitions will mean for my family. For our financial security. For the dynamics of our household.
A part of me wishes I could see into the future so I don’t make a mistake. So, I know what it is I’m “supposed” to do. Another part of me just wants to scream like the four-year-old who wears her emotions on her sleeves — although I don’t think anyone would think that was endearing. Yes, transitions ARE difficult at every age.
Do you struggle with transitions? Please join the conversation.
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