another t-shirt in the making

monday evening i went to a “what happens to the kids when a parent is coming and going” seminar.  i came away with all kinds of things to think about.  like how we handle michael’s comings and goings.  which i think, for the most part, we don’t so much handle them.  we just sort of absorb them.  there’s no time between the return and the leaving to have a proper hello or a proper goodbye – whatever that might look like – they’re so constant that if we took any time to try to deal with his return he’d be out the door again before we were done.  but one of the handouts/tools/charts the speaker/counselor gave us was the transition bridge.  i’d never seen it before, but many had, it’s apparently not an uncommon tool used in cross cultural training.  and it’s got me thinking.  not so much about what’s happening with the kids when michael’s coming and going and coming and going and coming and going and coming and going and coming and going… you get the picture.

it’s had me thinking more about our move here. and what we did not do to prepare for it.  and all that.  i actually spend a fair amount of time thinking about this.  especially with our trip home coming up… i’m wondering what might rear it’s ugly head because we didn’t do the whole move thing right.  so you can see what i’m talking about, here’s the bridge.


and for the purpose of comparison here’s what i think the bridge might look like with the steps we actually did well.


and i’m not sure exactly where that leaves me. have i been shot into the cloud of chaos? am i doggy paddling in the river of transition? i’m certain i’m no longer safely on the shores of belonging.  but have i even touched the banks of entering, coping and belonging?  (i do think i have, but i’m an all or nothing girl. so i have difficulties recognizing this.)

one thing i do know is that i feel very tightly wound.  one good jostle and i’ll come undone and it might not be too pretty.

18 thoughts on “another t-shirt in the making

  1. Good luck. My assvice, simplified…figure out (if you can, I do know it’s hard), what is wrong, think carefully what might help to fix it, if possible; forget all the other stuff. You can’t beat yourself up about what went wrong, but you can move forward, try to fix what you can, try to anticipate for the trip. No matter what you do or don’t do however, it’s still going to be hard when you come back. I think no matter how well you prepare, transitions are just hard, and they’re harder for some of us than others. {{{Hugs}}}

    I don’t know if any of that makes sense. I completely empathize with the tightly wound feelings. Not good. Try to be good to yourself. Breathe deep. When you do come undone, don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re all human.

  2. meh you did it old school stylz, aka chucking em in the deep end.
    very retro.
    none of this pc malarky 😉

  3. I think you all have done a wonderful job. I’m with Sarah, sometimes you can get bogged down trying to work through a maze like that chart. However, I am from an era where we played with mercury, rode on the tailgate of a pick-up truck, never heard of a helmet for a bike and were not afraid of everything we saw and heard. Hang in there, progress is being made by you guys. Love Mom

  4. Pingback: Topics about Thailand » Archive » another t-shirt in the making

  5. you’re doing a wonderful job. And are you sure Michael didn’t make that diagram? It resembles one of his famous and confusing drawings.

  6. Monica, I tend to agree with the idea that charts like that are often more hurtful than helpful. Each person and family is so different, a different course is needed for each. I think it can be helpful to have an idea of what one might expect from a situation, but each might not be experienced by each person. (Well, that is a bunch of babble! ;)) ) I personally am amazed at who well it seems you are all taking to the adventure, esp when I went back a little and saw the short time frame for the change! I do assume it must be HUGE and you are on your own on the homefront often. I pray you find that soft spot to land when it is needed and also will pray your trip back to the US can be joyous.


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