Like the changing seasons and the ebb and flow of the tide, change and transition are part and parcel of all our lives. We move between phases and stages, people and places and from one activity to another, daily, weekly and on. At times the transition is an organic evolution of life that happens because it is necessary and there is readiness. At other times we are shunted awkwardly through our changes, causing much discomfort even pain.
Transition is much discussed in the life of an adopted child and rightly so, no greater change could be considered for a child than to be removed from their birth family and placed in the care of another. For myself I see the transition Mr H and I have made from care free high school sweethearts to adults, parents bathed in the warmth of our family yet weighted by the responsibilities of our life. Too much has occurred for all of us to start to discuss the single most important, influential or necessary transition in our lives, so I propose to tack a snapshot. Click, done, captured. Mr and Mrs H, Stig and Tink, frozen in the midst of their own current transition, where are we all up to right now?
I’m imagining his smiling face, captured in this moment and my eyes wander over the contours of his chin, nose and jaw line. I find wonder everyday in his physicality because although I feel his being is mine to love and hold as all mothers do, I don’t know his face. I don’t know where it’s going and how it’s going to change; I’ve not seen it before. In Tink, his resemblance to birth mum for some reason anchors me, I have seen some of what will be. As I breathe in the beauty of my oldest boy, in this moment, I see the planes of his face moving towards manhood. I see the transition we find ourselves currently in, boy to adolescent and I marvel at the possibilities.
It’s early I know, not quite 10, but it’s there in his physicality and demeanour. It’s the public demeanour that’s changed no hand holding or kisses, no “mummy”, I’m now mum. I do forget though and the poor soul has to repeatedly screech “MUM” before I realise the alien word is from the recognisable voice of my son. There is “attitude” for public display too, the sarcastic tones in reply to your inquiries, the answering back, the pushing the point. He’s exploring his boundaries, again, asserting himself up against and sometimes across the lines we have drawn.
This transition is fuelling the ferocity of his anger, and whilst at school his greatest desire to fit in seems to contain most outbursts, the safety of home brings brutal destructive rage previously unseen. The extent of this rage I fear we have not yet fully encountered and as hormones begin to throb I again wonder where we are heading.
Poor Tink, I’ve caught him mid tantrum, eyes wild and damp around the edges, body defiantly twisted against the world. His open mouth is stretch wide to make room for the great anger it dispels, he veermently protests with unwavering belief that he is right and you are wrong. This boy is changing greatly, moving from the child who showed no emotion and said little of how he feels, to one who is exploring all corners of his feelings. These emotional outbursts are similar to those you may see in a child half his age, exploring the extent of his parent’s patience and acceptance. There is great drama in these moments and I can see they are in the most him playing out to see how far it can go, moving through the next transition in his emotional development.
Then we have day to day transitions, from being in your pyjamas to being in clothes, to moving thorough breakfast to leaving the house, leaving the place we are visiting, going to bed. Moving through these activities is on a daily bases met with resistance and hardship, “It’s too hard, I can’t, I don’t want to”. Each day renewed patience, understanding and stamina are required to move through and beyond each stage, and each transition is a huge obstacle in the day. Planning and talking about plans helps but often the breaks go on and there is little to be done but cajole, wait and again be patient.
As I gaze into this snapshot I know less for this one’s future, his emotional development is still in such early stages and it remains to be seen how far along the emotional transitions ladder he will climb, considering his ASD. But I see smiles and laughter ahead no matter what, his wit and charm will carry him through.
Mr and Mrs H
I can’t fully see the faces in our shot so emotions are concealed and hidden from the world and each other. We move with the transitions of our children hoping to support and help them through but often forget to see our own transitions that require our own, each other’s supports. Physically we move to being older, I have more grey hairs; Mr H is growing a beard, for the first time, ever. I ache more when I run and Mr H coughs more and more when he gets a cold, I need more sleep, sometime we talk less other days we talk more.
I can see we are transitional but where we’ve come from compared to where we are going is sometimes hard to distinguish. I hope to be moving into happier lighter times but we have weathered too many storms to consider plain sailing. This week maybe the elbow of spring has nudged us gently forward and the path we are travelling is moving to more light, more open sky and open hearts. It’s been tough but we continue to be transitional together.