Life is full of transitions
Transition is a word that is used quite often in the early childhood profession but it is a word that is used just as often through our own adult-life. The Merriam Webster dictionary states the definition on the word “transition” as:
1a. a passage from one state, stage, subject or place to another: change 1b. a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another 2a. a musical modulation 2b. a musical passage leading from one section of a piece to another 3. An abrupt change in the energy state or level (as of an atomic nucleus or molecule) usually accompanied by loss or gain of a single quantum of energy.
When I read through the definition I kept refocusing on the words: passage, development, movement, modulation, and abrupt change. In life, there are many changes but the one transition that is most remarkable is the one from childhood to adulthood. To me it is the widest and narrowest passage a person must take to develop to their full potential.
As an adult, to have a helpless infant placed into your arms is one of the most frightening and enlightening changes a person can have, but to look at this infant knowing that he/she is full of such promise. There is an overwhelming feeling of responsibility and there is an unknowingly signed life contract between the two. But what did the contract say? Did I read the fine print? Do the conditions of the contract change at any point? In addition, when is the contract complete or is it ever? Throughout this life contract, it is difficult at times to instill so many of life’s lessons. At times, it may feel as if one is going through the lessons like a musical, there is an up tempo then a crashing thunder. Then without warning or hesitation, that tiny human being that was placed in your arms so long ago is walking, talking, and saying its ok I know what I am doing. When did this happen? Abrupt change!? WAIT! Did I complete my contractual obligations? I feel I am not done or am I.
Each year, I relive my own very first day of preschool, as I brought my first born to this very preschool. It was a momentous occasion, complete with happiness and tears. When I left him that day questions ran through my mind: Would he be alright? Would he make friends? What happens if________? He was just as apprehensive as I; he was feeling a sense of joy and a little bit of anxiety. But only after a few days, of hugs and kisses, and an “it’s going to be alright," he was soon saying Mom just drop me at the door. He had completed Stage one: depart from Mother to begin educational development. And with this stage and others to come, he passed through each stage with only a few bumps and bruises. The last stage was to come. We would part ways once again as he stepped into a world that was completely foreign and mysterious. He said he was nervous about the unknown and I would not admit, so was I.
On that day, he was prepared with his new clothes, sheets, refrigerator, and laptop computer. He was strong, cheerful, and determined. Then once again, as he left my arms, he said to me “it’s going to be alright, Mom”. He jumped into college without turning back and without any hesitation; he was ready to discover his new life.
As I drove away that day, I felt a great deal of pride, satisfaction, and an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. But did I fulfill my contract, did I teach all the life lessons that I could? I pray each day, that where ever he goes and whomever he meets that he shares those life lessons that are close to his heart. In time, he will fully transition into adulthood and developed himself to be a giving responsible individual. He, too, will have a tiny infant placed into his arms and he will have his own life’s lessons to teach his child, maybe some of those lessons I may have taught him.
And with an “it’s going to be alright”.
I will take care of my preschool children for they are developing and learning their own life’s lessons. May we all continue to transition through life and share our own life’s lessons with others.
P.S. This article was written in 2011!! My young man has once again transitioned into the real world unprotected from his family and college. He is now at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester) as their Ice Rink Operations Manager. I am still very grateful when I receive a text “I love and miss you, Mom”.
Maureen Vigneau, Proud Mother, Proud Teacher