As I wait for my new suite to be completed, I have had the time to think about how well I do with transitions and change. Just when I think the move is imminent and I start to prepare myself for the new rhythm we will have in our new surroundings, a delay occurs that sets back our move-in date. It can be frazzling even for a grown-up. It has also made me examine how I am in supporting the children in my care when there is a change. Songs help transitions — from washing our hands to getting to the table for meals. A strong daily and weekly rhythm helps too. With the new suite we talk about our future in the room. We’ve made visits to the room at various points during the construction and we have talked about how some things will remain the same — yes, we will be taking our toys with us.
Recently two of the older girls in my suite were talking about kindergarten and how they would go to different schools. They wondered if they would still continue to be friends and see each other now that their time at Lifeways was ending (yes we have serious talks like this over lunch). After some pondering and discussion between the girls, I pointed out that they live in the same neighborhood and there would be opportunities to see one another after they left LifeWays. The meal ended with the girls being able to see a possible future that was different, yet it was a future where they could remain friends. They needed to express their concerns about the big change that was coming at the end of the summer. They needed me to listen and acknowledge their concerns. Changes big and small are part of life, and how we help each other during times of change is what makes human.
Sandra Schmidt is a caregiver at LifeWays of Milwaukee, a LW Representative Program. She has also taught at Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School and enjoys biodynamic gardening.