Friday, 13 September 2013

Changes and Transitions

Where has the time gone?!  My last month has been jam packed with getting ready for changes and transitions.  Not only in my household but in the garden.  I've picked my grapes and made grape juice, I've been busy picking up the pears and apples that are falling off the trees fully least that's what I tell myself.  Most likely they are riddled with ants, wasps and other creepy crawlies.  I like to keep up with removing them from the yard because they really do attract the wasps.  However these pears and apples also give food to the squirrels and birds who frequent my yard.  It is fun to watch the squirrels pick up the apples/pears with their front paws and then sink their teeth into the fruit just right.  Then they scamper off and either run along the top of the chain link fence to another yard or they use their other escape route of scampering quickly up the tree trunk to a branch far above.  Then you either hear the rustling leaves as they leap from one tree to the next.  Sometimes you even see the branches bending and shaking as they land on the next tree.  The squirrels manage to do all this with the fruit in their mouth! It looks comical and always brings a smile to my face.  The birds also are enjoying pecking at the various apples and pears on the ground.  Sometimes the birds are responsible for knocking the fruit off of the trees.

The other changes in my household have been in the human variety.  My father-in-law has come for his annual 4-6 week visit.  At the same time, my son was preparing to go off to university for the first time.  We had lots of fun shopping for the various items that he would need to live in residence.  My basement was loading up with boxes as they were filled, taped shut and labelled.  My husband and I went with him to his new city (4 hours away) to watch him try out for the varsity baseball team.  He was guaranteed 2 days of tryouts and then each day after that there were cuts made.  We couldn't very well leave him and return home until we knew he had made it through the first few cuts.  As it turned it out, he survived the first round of cuts but was cut in the second round.  So after spending 4 days away, we returned home for 2 days and then packed our son up on Sunday, September 1 to return him to his new city and move him into his residence.  My father-in-law made the trip with us and helped settle our son into his new home.  The process of getting him moved kept me busy so that I wasn't dwelling on how much I would miss him.  When I did have nostalgic moments and some full emotions inside, I reminded myself that it is the job of parents to raise their children to become independent and ready to leave home.  I would comfort myself with the fact that I've been successful in raising him to leave and start this next phase in his life.....on his own.  Two days after he was gone, I went into his room and just tidied up a little after I had stripped and washed his bedding.  I came across a report card from high school and I put it in his "school days album".  This is a booklet that my grandmother gave my son when he was just a baby.  It has pockets for every school year from Preschool through to University.  As I put the report card in its proper pocket, a small t-shirt fell out of the book.  It was a t-shirt my son made in his Kindergarten class when we lived in a small village.  There were his hand prints on the front.  Oh my!! They were so small!  Each child in the classroom had their names printed on the t-shirt including the teacher's name.  What a keepsake!  As I looked at this t-shirt, my heart filled with love and memories.  The years have flown by!  I find myself trying to adjust to this new change in the household.  I find my ears listening for my son's feet to hit the floor in the mornings as he jumps out of bed.  I'm still listening at night to hear him thump across the floor of his room as he goes to bed.  I find myself just....listening.  Life is changing.  I'm still in transition.

The summer is over and I'm back to work.  How I enjoyed my summer!!  I rode on the back of my husband's motorcycle.  I travelled and spent 2 glorious weeks with very good friends in PEI.  I've enjoyed my backyard in the early mornings and in the late evenings.  But now it is time to go back to work and look forward to the school year.  There are students to contact.  There are old students who have moving on to the next stages in their own lives.  There are new students to take their place.  New parents to meet and new schedules to adjust to.  Changes and transitions.  These are not always easy for me.  Change and transition is good as it shakes us out of our complacency and our comfort zone.   Or maybe I should refer to the "comfort zone" as the proverbial rut that we find ourselves in.  Whichever term I use, it is still a change and riding through the transition to the change is difficult at times.  I find myself facing insecurities and doubts until I've travelled all the way through the transition to the point of being settled into the new schedule of changes.

I like having family come to visit.  I think that extended family is important for our children to know and see and I, personally, like having family around me.  For me, there is always a time of transition that I go through as I have people come and go.  I find this hard to explain but I'm going to attempt an explanation.  It is like doing a dance and as one person is added to the mix, I have to learn a series of new steps and get used to the new dance.  As one person leaves, I have to again learn a series of new steps and get used to the new dance again.  This always takes me some time to adjust and get comfortable with the "new dance".  As I look back over the last month, I've arrived home from a holiday to adjusting to the new dance steps of being home.  Within 2 weeks, I had to adjust to more new dance steps with family arriving which is a good thing.  Within another 2 weeks, I had to adjust to another new dance as my son has left home.  One week after that, I was learning the new steps of a new teaching year.  I have navigated through all these new dances in a short period of time by focussing on one day or even one moment at a time.  Sometimes I don't handle the stress of  change and transition particularly well.  I don't know if we ever truly learn to handle stress well.  All I can do is try my best.

In amongst all these changes, I've enjoyed many moments.  I've visited a vineyard that produces one of my favourite wines.  I've seen my husband's cousins and extended family at a wonderful family BBQ.  I've enjoyed shopping with my daughter.  I've enjoyed some fabulous meals and conversations with my father-in-law.  We went out to a favourite restaurant one night when my son was still home.  The warm memory of my son and daughter sitting across from me sharing some laughter will always be imprinted in my mind.  I will remember the warm afternoon sitting on my patio with my father-in-law as the two of us sorted through the grapes that we had just picked.  Life has been busy with changes and transitions, but overall it has been a great time.

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