The reluctant new beginner

It has been a little less than a month since my last
post, but it feels like at least three. So much has happened; so much to write
about. I will get to all that, but today is about new beginnings.
It is my first post from our new home, Zurich, and today
is the first day of school – the ultimate new beginning. The children have had
about a week to settle here – as much as that is possible in a week – and get
used to their new surroundings, before starting school. When we asked them, they
always claimed to be excited about it. They were good at hiding their
apprehension, even from themselves. At moments, I even thought that I should
take it a bit easier, since I was more daunted by this new beginning than they
were.
We arrived early at their new school this morning. Ours were the only new
kids in their respective classes. Even though everyone was friendly and
welcoming, I could not help feeling anxious about what they would have to go
through for the next few weeks of their adjustment period. Maybe this is the
exaggerated reaction of an introvert, but I have vivid memories of being the new
kid (I went to four kindergartens in two years, in two different countries and
languages) and they all involve feeling awkward – for being the odd one out – and
very alone. I would have liked to be able to spare them that initial phase and
fast-forward to the point where they have already made friends and are
completely comfortable in their new habitat.
As custom has it, we spent a few moments in each one
of the children’s classrooms, and as we turned to leave the Third Grade, our
daughter gave me this “please don’t leave me here yet” look, which filled me
with sadness. It makes no difference that I know that she will make friends and
be her usual popular self in no time; at that moment I was deeply moved because
I knew exactly how she felt – and I hated that feeling. Our son was better at camouflaging
his awkwardness with pre-teen annoyance, rolling his eyes at us when we were the only
parents waving goodbye from outside the classroom window – but I could tell that
he was as terrified. With him, I will have to get better at guesswork over the
next few weeks, since he is unlikely to volunteer any information relating to
his feelings.
By now it has become clear that I am a reluctant “new
beginner.” I am a comfort-zone-person. I like to stay with the familiar. Which is why I am happy that school has started. I am relieved that we will start getting
into a routine and get used to new routes and schedules. This may require me to get
out of that comfort zone for a little while, but I like to think of it as an actual comfort zone expansion – to include our new environment and our new life. That expanded comfort is part of what I need to feel at home and to help my children feel at
home as well. Today I made the first step. Well, I had to J.
How do you deal with new beginnings?

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