Transitions aren't always easy. In fact, sometimes they are downright difficult. Last week was one of those difficult transitions for me personally: both of my girls started school on the same day.
Annika on her big day
Mayzie on her big day
There aren't any pictures of me on their first day; it wasn't pretty. My babies are growing up so quickly. It snuck up on me, them leaving me at home in peace and quiet to actually work on my dissertation during the day. I didn't get much work done that first day though, as I was too busy looking at baby pictures and trying not to act lonely without any small child demanding snacks and attention. By the time I had to go pick up Mayzie from preschool at 11 a.m., I had finally gotten it together enough to look like I hadn't been crying all morning.
Annika took the bus to school on the first day, which only mildly frightened her private school educated father. She had a fantastic day, or so the note from her teacher said. She's so very excited to be earning "cash" for her good behavior, but is absolutely peeved that they have monkey bars on the playground that she's not allowed to use until after Christmas. (For the record: I don't get that rule either, but I didn't say that to her.) Her favorite part of school so far is recess, and she never remembers what they had for lunch. She does come home completely famished and begging for snacks, so perhaps she isn't eating much while she's there. There was a moment of panic when Annika forgot to get off the bus after school, but a quick call to the school and 10 minutes later, and she was home. She now gets a personal bus stop on the way home, I think because the driver took pity on me upon seeing me dragging Mayzie to the stop every morning. Oh Annika.
Mayzie only went to one day of preschool last week, but she had a great time. This week she'll go the usual 3 half days, and I'm anxious to see how she does. Despite being quite precocious and verbose at home, she was completely silent on her first day at school. She really does need to warm up to people to get talking in general, but I expected her to at least speak to her teacher whom she had met previously. She did at least come home and tell me all about how school went and what they did there, so that was nice.
We are in the process of changing from one state or condition to another: in transition. It's not just the girls who have started new chapters, I have as well. I've finished another dissertation chapter, or at least mostly. I wrote an essay for a graduate student paper competition and I'm slowly reshaping it into a full chapter. I'm also starting to write applications for postdoctoral positions. I'll be applying for 8 different postdocs in addition to writing an NIH RO1 research grant. I have no idea which of these great opportunities I'll be able to take advantage of, but at least the waiting will be filled with dissertation writing and picking up smiley girls from school. The limbo and waiting will be that much more tolerable this time than last time because of the fact that there are multiple different outcomes that would be favorable, and they are all different. When we were waiting for my dissertation funding applications, the only desirable outcome was to get enough money for us all to go to Germany. If you ask my MIL, there is only one desirable outcome: us staying here. If you ask me, I'll tell you that I know that no matter what the outcome is, we will be happy. If we can move our family to Germany for a year, we can do anything.
Transitions can be difficult. The settling in period will be filled with fits and starts and rethinking and rescheduling and growing pains. Andy moved into a new office today to commemorate his new promotion. We are all in transition. We're getting rid of our double stroller. We're moving out of that stage of our lives, and that is a good thing. We're trying to find our balance again, but fully aware that true balance won't be a reality until after this dissertation is completed, defended, and passed. But there is joy in the transition; Joy in the feeling of things moving forward and knowing that they will turn out how they are supposed to. For now, I'll revel in the transition and work as hard as possible when I can.