Scenes from Transitions
By: Wendy Rhein
My little family’s universe is going through its own planet shifts. It may not be the full solar eclipse or Venus transitioning the sun, but we are all facing something new and uncertain. Every one of the four of us is going through some personal ending or beginning, a transition or a change. in the end, they will all be good but the getting there experience is different for each of us.
My mother is traveling alone for the first time in several years this week. She’s been looking forward to the cross country trip to see her first grandchild graduate high school. In helping her prepare over the last few days I have seen a new hesitancy in her that doesn’t surprise me but does sadden me. How will she get through security? She can’t stand that long. (We arranged for a wheelchair to meet her at the ticketing door to take her to the gate.) She was concerned about how her bag would get into the overhead since she can’t lift things over her head. (Don’t worry, people will help you.) Will they take her medications at security if they are liquids? Why does she have to put her coveted Joy perfume in a plastic bag? (A cane-walking pharmacy, I sent her off with print outs of the scripts from her doctors just in case security thinks she’s a drug runner.) The questions went on. She left me with her favorite ring, ‘just in case,’ and reminded me that she wants to be cremated. I told her if she dies in a fiery plane crash she will likely already be cremated. She didn’t find this funny.
My mom was the one who was always up for an adventure. It took her five years to save for a trip to Europe when we were kids but she did it and our family of 6 spent 28 days touring five countries. She has taken more 12+ hour road trips than I ever have. But she could trust her body then. She could trust her mind and her own abilities. Time and pain have taken that away.
Nathan has four more days of school and he’s exhausted. There are so many endings and celebrations that our schedule and patterns are all out of whack. I was highly unpopular last night for dragging him and his brother out of a still in progress event at 8:00 on a school night. They were wrecked and needed to sleep, even if they didn’t think so. There have been three melt downs this week. Seven-year-old meltdowns are about as fun as a two-year-old temper tantrum, but with longer kicking legs and a greater damage pattern. I’ve seen both this week and have created a list of key elements of success for each. I’m going to make score cards today and rate the next ones like the Olympic judge from East Germany.
Sam seems to be feeding on everyone’s angst and excitement. He is going through his own transitions at daycare with new teachers which are manifesting in clinging and hiding behind my legs. I don’t blame him – these are new people to me too and I’m clinging to him as hard as he clings to me. Will they take good enough care of my baby? I recently talked to a colleague who was bemoaning the need to find new daycare for her 3-year-old because she found out the teacher had been locking him in a closet when he wouldn’t nap during the day. Every parent’s nightmare story, right? I trust the care providers for Sam but this is the stuff of daycare legend. It is hard to not think about it.
As for me, change is always good. Even when the process is painful or long, it ends the way it is supposed to end and that’s got to be good. There are things afoot personally and professionally and I remind myself 1,706 times a day that it will all come out the way it is supposed to. I can’t control most of it. Besides, I am the safety net for everyone else’s transitions in my family. I reassure, I fix, I provide, I hug and hold. I set the rules and I allow all of us to break them. As the net, I can’t fray and crumble, no matter how stretched (or stressed) out I become. It is all for the good. It has to be.