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Parent blog: Another school year transition

Boulder mom and blogger Tanja Pajevic realizes she’s the one – maybe even more than her kids – who struggles with the transition to a new school year.

Ahh, fall. Ahh, school. Ahh, the transitions. And, ahh, the headaches.

I don’t know about you, but the beginning of the school year always throws me off. There are just so many changes and unknowns to contend with. Like how will my child adjust to the start of another year? And will he get a good teacher? Will he have any friends in his class?

And that’s just the unknowns when it comes to him. There are also the changes to my schedule, from a different work schedule to juggling two different school drop offs and pickups. And did I mention that we’re getting ready to start my younger son in preschool?

I hear a lot of talk about transitions and whether or not our kids are good with transitions. But what I realized last week is that I’m not good with transitions. Which means I’m in some serious trouble, because what is parenting if not one transition after the next? Every time I get used to our current phase, something changes and I need to adjust all over again.

Like last week, when we started interviewing babysitters to replace our beloved nanny. I knew this would be a tough transition, but I figured I could minimize it if I just powered through and found a new sitter as quickly as possible. But what I forgot to factor in was this – my kids didn’t want another sitter. They wanted our old sitter, which meant they were going to act out like crazy, especially while we were interviewing potential sitters.


Luckily, I figured out what was going on pretty quickly, and we were able to pull it together while we found a new sitter. Meanwhile, things continued to move at warp speed, as they always do toward the end of summer. Now that I’d found a new sitter, I put the rest of my energy into catching up with work, getting ready for an upcoming family trip and preparing for Nico’s birthday party.

To make up for all the anxiety I was feeling (but not dealing with), I put my head down and worked even harder. Everything would be fine, I told myself. Absolutely fine!

Where this sadness comes from

And it was, until I was overwhelmed by a crushing sadness in the middle of my dance class the other day. And then it hit me. I was going to miss our old sitter, and I was going to miss her like heck. After three years with us, she’s become a part of our family.

But that wasn’t all. My baby was going to school, my baby was going to school, my baby was going to school.

Aye, there’s the rub.

Now the irony of this whole situation is that I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. Once Gabriel started school, I figured I’d finally have a little space to breathe. Plus, I might even finally be able to finish the book I’ve been working on for the past couple of years.

But what I didn’t anticipate was just how sad I’d feel over such a milestone. I know that everyone tells you it goes by too fast, but when you’re in those challenging, sleep-deprived first years, it’s hard to imagine that your child will ever be old enough to go to school.

Until it happens, and you find yourself crying in the middle of your dance class.

Now I don’t know what will happen next year, much less next week. All I do know is that right now, there’s a whole lot of change going on in our house. And most of it involves factors beyond my control. Meaning that all I can really do is let go and dive in, even if that means letting myself finally feel that crushing sadness that I’d rather not acknowledge. Or the tiny little seed of excitement that lies behind it.

Because while this round of transitions might not be our easiest, it just might be one of the more interesting ones. Which is why I’m trying to change my tune to encompass that all-important possibility.

So bring it on, baby, bring it on!

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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