Days of Transition

sunset out our window, photo by my daughter, EH

Nearly everyone we know who does not live in the state of Minnesota—ok, and my sister who lives in Virginia—has already started school.

Except us. We have one more week to go.

It’s an odd transitional place for me–preparing for school while other moms feel the exhilaration of back-to-school pictures and sighs of relief at quiet households. We still have two open houses, dentist’s appointments and a flurry of organization that needs to be done before we’re to that point.

In the crush of preparing them, I still have to prepare myself. I am teaching a seminary class, again, for the teenage students at our church every day before their high school classes.

Not only do I need to prepare to teach, I need to transition my body to get up early. I’ve been waking up a half hour earlier each day for the last three weeks. Today I woke up at 5:30 a.m. with no where to go but down to my elliptical to adjust my body to the time change.

Every morning I want to go back to sleep once I’m dressed, and I still haven’t reached my regular wake-up time, which is 4:45. I think I need to get to bed earlier.

About this time every year I feel unsteady in my parenting. I know the end of a busy summer is near, but I haven’t tasted it yet.

I struggle through the continued contentions between kids; I’m tired of being referee.

I worry that I haven’t used the teaching moments well; I sound like I’m giving a lecture every time I talk.

I escape to my room to plan my own class or have some alone time; I feel guilty I’m not planning something fun in the last fleeting days of summer vacation.

This is an awkward transition between energized, loving mother to exhausted mother back to grateful, content and on-top-of-things mother. It’s caused me to consider how many transitions we have in life and what I’m to do when I’m in them.

Teenager to young adult to adult, employed to unemployed to employed, single to engaged to married. Transitions happen more often than we think, and I’m sure you could name a few.

Each of the transitions–that mid place between two different life stages–often feels awkward and negative. I flail about because I recognize those feelings,  but I usually don’t realize that I’m in a transition phase, moving from one place to the next.

When I focus on the feelings of the moment I flounder. I know I’m not comfortable and want to move on. If, on the other hand, I can visualize the next step where I’m headed and focus on that, I flourish. Well, maybe not flourish, but better than flounder.

Still, all of that is much easier to do when there’s a deadline date for that to come, like the start of school, and much harder to do when the move to the next step is less definable.

So, that’s where I am, looking to the next step where we can move forward as a family rather than hanging out in the days of transition.

I’ll join everyone there soon, I hope . . . until the next life change.

How about you? Do you recognize when you’re in the days of transition? How do you make the most of them? What important life lessons have you learned in those days? How have you pushed forward positively to the next stage?

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1 Comment

  1. Rebecca
    Aug 31, 2009

    What I struggle with is transition with no deadline. Just sitting in transition, without knowing the end-date is so frustrating! I haven’t quite figured out how to handle that yet. But I do know that when I am more grateful, I can see the end- if not the date, at least the result!

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