Having Difficulty With Transitions

Today, in just a few hours, we are taking my daughter to college. My emotions have been on edge and I can barely get anything done. I’m so very proud and excited for her – and selfishly dreading how much I will miss her. In my interactions with people, these past few days, the most charitable thing that could be said would be that I have not been at my best.

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When my kids were toddlers, just beginning day care and preschool, the caregivers used to tell us that we needed to be gentle when it came to “transitions” – from home to school, from classroom to car, from playdate to reading corner. I remember thinking this sounded a little new-agey to me, the kind of pseudoscientific jargon that did no one any good.

Now, examining my own emotions and behaviors around this transition, I get it. I can adapt to anything, and I know I will adapt to this new chapter of my daughter’s life. I want to get going, so I can begin to adapt. As I wait, and the transition unfolds, I am forced to feel all sorts of feelings. There is literally nothing to be done, except get through it.

I have a new sympathy for my toddler children, lo these many years ago: they found transitions difficult.

Me too.

Published by

Brad Rourke

Executive editor of issue guides and program officer at the Kettering Foundation.

One thought on “Having Difficulty With Transitions”

  1. Brad, excellent post. I have done this twice (sent my two boys away to college) and my daughter, a senior in high school is next…..I have to say, while there is excitement, this “right of passage” to adulthood is easily the most difficult and challenging parenting experience for me. I am likely not unique in this feeling, but I still sure do feel alone….thanks again and wishing you well, my friend.

    Erik Jensen

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