My daughter has been going to the same amazing daycare for two years, since she was about a year old. Today she “graduated” from the infant house and moved on to the preschool house, which is run by the same folks but out of a different location a few blocks away. The occasion was commemorated by each child ringing a bell, exiting the gates of the infant house, and walking together to their new school. I held one of her hands, her older brother the other, and we followed in a lazy line with her other classmates and their parents. It was a typical February day in Portland, and we felt some drizzle but also saw some blue sky. Daffodils and tulip trees were in bloom. It was lovely, and felt like an ending and a new beginning. Which is, I suppose, what transitions are.
This moment aside, the last two weeks have been rough, and increasingly rough as today’s big moment approached. It started with her complaining she didn’t want to go to school. Then she began fighting the little things she usually does every day without complaint – clearing her plate, brushing her teeth. Today she had a full-on meltdown outside of our music class over washing hands. (She was on the side of not washing them, I was on the other.) I get it – she is trying to take back control when she feels out of control in another big area of her life. But it doesn’t make these moments much easier.
While I may not respond in the same way she does – or at least won’t admit to doing so – these transitions are hard for me too. Moving up to the preschool is a milestone that drives home what is already obvious – my little girl is growing up. She is full of opinions and jokes, wisdom and silliness, strength and resilience. She is a little person now. She is not an infant. She is ready to be part of a bigger group, to be given more freedom, to have more space to explore, to fall, to feel. That makes me feel a little nervous, but also hugely proud.
So here’s to f-ing transitions. They are hard. They are scary. The month surrounding them completely and totally sucks. But they also give our kids new opportunities to thrive and, just as importantly, to fail. And they give us the chance to realize how incredibly lucky we are to have these little people in our lives, tantrums and all.