As far back as I can remember, my life has been on a “school year” schedule. My sister was already in kindergarten when I was born. My mom, a retired teacher, took fifteen years off from teaching to stay home with my siblings and me and went back to teaching full time when I was in third grade. I married my husband while I was still in college (squeezed the traditional four year college degree into six years). For the year in between college graduation and the birth of our oldest son, I was a nanny for a teacher’s family. Did I mention that my husband is a teacher, too?? We make our plans based around school breaks, exams, parent teacher conferences, and professional development days, and now that our oldest is into his second year of preschool, the school year has taken on a whole new layer.
With the school year officially starting this week (although my husband was in his classroom every day for the past two weeks…), there is so much transition happening in my life right now. He’s re-entering the consuming, never ending work of the school year. My oldest son, who did preschool two mornings/week last year, is starting preschool three mornings/week. I’m readjusting to being on my own with the boys during the day. The boys are adjusting to significantly less time with their dad. My husband is adjusting to significantly less time with his sons. It’s a lot to process at once. I cry every year when my husband heads back to work. I thought that at some point it might get easier but the transition between our “summer life” and “school year life” became much more difficult when our children were born.
My husband and I are the first to acknowledge how awesome it is that we are able to have so much time together as a family, with him being a teacher and me being a full time stay at home mom. We actually like being together, which is crazy, right?? :-) Something that I am reminded of every year when school starts is how overwhelmingly thankful I am for my family. Our “career” choices are certainly not the most lucrative but our time together is deeply rich. I know everyone deals with transitions--cyclical, traumatic, exciting, nerve-wracking, joyful, easy, hard. There is so much that we can learn from transitions which can be easy when the transition is positive. But, goodness, when those transitions are difficult, it can be such a challenge to see it as a chance to grow, not disconnect. When I think about the last ten years of life, I think of marriage, college graduation, pregnancies, buying and selling homes, parenthood (which I feel is one constant transition!), loved ones being diagnosed with incurable illnesses---some great transitions and challenging transitions. I am certainly not claiming to be an expert at handling transitions well but I do know that I am trying to put more effort into finding opportunities to grow. This transition I’m trying to become a bit more organized. Now that my oldest is in school, my brain needs all the help it can get when it comes to remembering things!
What changes are you dealing with right now? I know that sometimes we compare our changes to others and think, “Well, my change isn’t as major as their change so I should just suck it up,” or perhaps, “Well, my change is a bigger deal than their change so they should just suck it up”. Whatever the case may be, your change, your transition is important and has meaning and is significant. How we approach change is an ongoing lesson we are learning throughout our lives and I think having a community like we are fortunate enough to have with FIT4MOM helps provide some support during this journey.
So here’s to transition and change and learning and loving one another & ourselves through it all.