Transitions. Ugh. Maddy hates them. So does mommy.
I have known for a long time that transitions are hard on me. Eric has known for a long time too.
I particularly struggle with transitions back into things that I don’t want to be transitioning into… like back to the daily grind after a holiday. I think the first time Eric really saw this was after a glorious week-long cruise with my sister Lindsay and her hubby Jérôme in 2008.
In 2008, I was in the middle of completing my MSc. and working part-time in a group home for individuals with intellectual disabilities (as a personal support worker) – this meant I was working an upwards of 70 hours every week, often without any days off in a month. I exclaimed mid-tears to Eric a week and a half before we left on the cruise that I had to go somewhere for my reading week – I desperately needed a break.
I was over the moon when Eric said he wanted to come with me, and the addition of Linds & Jérôme was an added cherry on top. We had an amazing time. Linds and I debuted our karaoke careers (and we were shocked when we weren’t selected for the Idol competition). We enjoyed champagne breakfasts, long, amazing, wet rain forest hikes (that sometimes ended in zero views because of complete fog – something we can laugh about now), a lot of laughs and a ton of food.
We arrived home from Puerto Rico late one night, and the second Eric and I walked into my apartment I burst into tears. I had an amazing time – I just didn’t want it to end. Eric was completely baffled by my reaction, but fortunately it wasn’t enough to scare him off.
Fast forward four years, and here I am struggling to get back into routine after the Christmas holidays. Eric knows what to expect from me now during these transitions: a grumpy bear. He said to me on Tuesday night, “I know that you’re feeling upset because the holidays are ending, but you’re very grumpy.”
Eric’s comment really made me think about how much harder it must be for Maddy and kids like her who struggle so much with transitions. I mean, I’m an adult, who knows exactly when and how these transitions are going to happen, who understands exactly why I’m feeling grumpy, and I can communicate to those around me that I’m in a bad mood. I can totally empathize with Maddy – transitions are just no fun – but at least I’ve learned how to help myself get through them.
Today when I picked Maddy up from daycare, and her tears started the instant we got in the car (which is exactly what I’ve come to expect during transitional periods), I took a deep breath and remembered that she’s feeling exactly what I’m feeling, and this is the only way she knows how to express it. We are going to have to learn as a family how to ease through transitions, and our strategies will surely change as Maddy grows. But, on those days where our strategies seem to fall short, I just have to remember that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And, if all else fails, I just need to dream of champagne breakfasts in Barbados.