The smell of hot chocolate, popcorn and white ice greeted us at the door. A birthday invitation for my daughter landed us at the ice skating rink. In my life, I’ve ice skated, maybe once or twice, the fear of a broken leg just too intimidating for me.
For my daughter, until this past weekend, ice skating was something she only contemplated on television. She put on those metal blades for the first time, jamming her toes into the boot, while trying to balance her body like she was walking on a tightrope.
Throughout her attempts at the ice, I reflected on the different transitions she experienced. From walking to falling to skating to learning to pull herself from sitting to standing again, there was a seamless thread of transitions. I watched as she oscillated from each position with a centered focus and little hesitation. The moving from one to another wasn’t rough, but easy, almost as if there wasn’t a change that was happening. She wasn’t distracted by other ice skaters that circled the center or the boys who decided that waving small hockey sticks in the air were more entertaining than the actual skating.
As I watched through the transparent glass, I smiled, admiring her ease at handling change in such quick succession. The other part of me, felt a twinge of sadness, knowing that she will probably lose this ability to embrace transition as she grows older. I am not certain when it happens, when we lose the capacity to just move without worry from one transition to the next. Even in the moments that we know our thoughts or our worry won’t change an outcome, we cling to old patterns, running various hypotheticals in our mind.
As I helped my daughter take off her skates, I preserved her skating experience in my own mental time machine, tucking away a memory where transitions didn’t really matter to her. It’s a lesson for me as well, to learn that the in-between moments between traveling and destination don’t have to be so fraught with unease.
How do you handle transitions? Are your transitions fraught with worry or is your approach more calm? What advice would you give to anyone experiencing a transition?
I loved picturing her go through all of those stages, mindless of the other skaters, lost in the process of learning.
I don’t know when we lose that seamlessness. I wish I had it again. Transitions are rough for me.
What a good lesson for all of us!! I love your descriptions…I could literally feel the hot chocolate in my hands and smell the ice!
Kids are so open to new experiences and resilient when they don’t go quite as expected. Well, usually. That’s a great lesson to learn from.
You leave the reader to think about transitions without giving any specific examples. This is very hard to do. Your use of transitions in a piece about ‘transitions’ is wonderful.
I wonder if kids see trying and doing as the same. Some days I can’t get past trying. I am always trying to get more done, trying to finish something, trying…. But watching my toddler walk and run and climb, she isn’t trying. She is simply doing. Even when she falls. She sees it as part of the process.
Transitions used to be so easy. Not thinking about consequences of your actions is one of the best parts of growing up. Not worrying about falling, getting hurt, etc. The consequences can be both positive andnegatives. However, as I get older I’ve been just focusing on the negative consequences. I feel like that’s the hardest part of getting older. Your post is a great reminder to be carefree at times- if you fall you fall, you just get back up again ( with or without crutches)
Oh I’m a bit odd I know but I’ve always thrived on transitions – new job, new home, new country, new places to visit, new restaurant etc.
Until Motherhood – now that was a transition I am still coming to terms with 🙂
Aging Mommy took the words right out of my mouth. Until motherhood, I didn’t struggle much with transitions. Maybe there’s some sort of cosmic poetry there: transitions became harder for me once it became my job to make them seamless for another person.
Those moments between setting out and the destination ARE intimidating, more so as we get older (and wiser) I think. Our kids can teach us so much about trying new things, can’t they?
I, who has never ice skated or been in a position to attempt ice skating, love this. Watching your child learn, adapt, and get it … those are the parenting pay offs.
Fearlessness of consequence or merely “existing” in the moment is what makes children so unique. I think that as we evolve into adults, we tend to become all too aware of cause and effect, what will happen if we do, or if we don’t. I tend to face transition with overwhelming apprehension, but have found that simply taking in the moment between those transitions bring a sense of peace within me. The saying that “…the only constant in life is change…” could never be truer.
It’s fascinating the way some kids make transitions easily, and others, less so. And of course, it’s the same for adults. So much depends on circumstances. Some transitions? Faced bravely or even with excitement. Others? Terribly difficult. And more so, as we age – physical barriers becoming more of an issue.
I’ve known quite a few children to whom transitions are not as seamless. For instance, my dear friend’s son (3 yrs old) has the hardest time transitioning from season to season and year to year. He clings to his coats during spring/summer but eschews them during the fall/winter. I have a sister who had similar reactions to the seasons and had a rough time during her childhood and teenage years. Oddly, now that she’s a mother, she is actually adjusting pretty well to what life has thrown at her.
Me, on the other hand, have always handled changes will. But, like Kristen and Jane, motherhood has sure kicked me in the pants.
I’ve never really struggled with transitions while growing up but it seems like a general consensus here that the hesitations begin with motherhood. Now that we’re responsible for the life of another, it seems that we are more prone to doubt ourselves and deliberate over the consequences. Perhaps it’s a natural transition from singlehood to motherhood.
I hate the uncomfortableness of transitions. I tend to drop my head and whine my way through till I get comfortable. Glad to see you encouraging your daughter to embrace that unease instead!
I’m great with transition if I choose it. If it’s thrust upon me and by surprise (like loss, or death, etc.) I’d be lying if I said those were easy.
I’ve always had a hard time with trasitions. In retrospect they’ve often not been as difficult as I’d feared, but still I don’t like change.
I’m reminded of that well-worn and oh-so-apt saying, “Life is about the journey, not the destination.” When does it become so hard for us to remember that?
As a mother, by necessity I’ve had to learn to roll with the proverbial punches that transition always sends straight to my gut. It’s still not easy to be “flexible,” but watching my kids do it so easily and wanting to be a good model for them has helped.