Anticipatory Agitation 

My brilliant and dear friend coined the title of these feels. I take zero credit for this epic alliteration.

“Anticipatory agitation” is waiting for the big shifts we know are arriving. The waiting is agitating, because we are anticipating the change that isn’t actually real yet. Academics, educators, and care givers of school aged children (I’m all three of these things) feel the anticipation of the new school year. It is so close, and we feel the chaos in our bones long before it begins. I can’t do anything about these changes right now, but I’m already anticipating the work and the trials of transition. 

Professionally, once again, I’ll do more with less. I have more students, a smaller budget, bigger goals, and higher institutional expectations. Riddle me that. The equation is fairly insane, but I’ll get up, dress up, and show up for my students. Four years in, and I’m finally beginning to feel like I know what I’m doing. #slideone

I’m almost done with graduate school (three classes will complete a decade as a student in higher ed). I have capstone work to complete that is currently a woeful pile of notes, and a single shakey research question at best. 

Personally, and I’ve saved the best and worst for last, this fall is the season when all of the tiny humans will attend school. I have no more babies at home, or part time at home, or hanging out with grandparents and friends a few days a week…. They will all go to school Monday through Friday – 8:30 am – 3:00 pm. I’m having some serious anticipatory agitation about real full time school for all of my littles.

Go live and learn your best life, sweet love.

For nine years I’ve parceled out necessary childcare around part time schedules, and family. For nine years there was at least one tiny human home, at least one day during the work week. For nine years I could be called upon to help my full-time working friends, and take on an extra tiny human as needed. For nine years I was my own resource, and I exhausted every creative measure in my arsenal to get it all done, because a tiny human was always there. For nine years the “work week” didn’t really belong to me. I was always a mama during all, many, and some of these hours. 

For nine years I packed backpacks and water bottles and took toddlers everywhere I could find that would bring them joy… on any random Tuesday or Friday. We went to the beach. I would nap in the afternoon, while they napped, because the mental load of the tiniest humans is exhausting… and it was a long time ago everyone stopped napping. I would shower, and change into clean yoga pants. I would find friends to raise my tiny humans with, and we would find empty playgrounds on Monday’s at 1:00 pm. We went to Broadway on a Wednesday. We took tiny human music class on Tuesday’s at 11:00 am. We shared a gazzillion story hours at every local library in the region. I drank coffee and ate bagels every Friday morning with the sweetest group of mamas I know. For nine years I built our community, and that was my work. On rainy days we watched movies, baked, and crafted. For nine years there was some part of the work week that was carved out for mothering, and only mothering. These past nine years are the times I will look back on, and I will know it was our best lives.

My sweetest littlest tiny human is going to school, and her 8:30-3:00 doesn’t belong to me anymore. I’m having anticipatory agitation about this loss. 

I’m sharing her with the world. (The smallest world we could manufacture at our tiny local Montessori school.) I’m sharing her best hours because it’s time for her to learn how to be her best self. She’s ready. I thought I was too, but it turns out there’s a lot of agitation about these feels. A Montessori education trains tiny humans to thrive in independence. She will learn that…. I’m anticipating the loss of these hours. She’ll excel. She’ll kick ass at being a school girl. It’s in her blood. We are a family of school girls. 

I really cannot even begin to express the sheer amount of privilege I own that gifted me all of these years home, semi-home, and home again, and home most of the time…. I love these tiny humans with my entire being, and I hope I did them justice during their youngest years. It continues to be my most important work. 

My anticipatory agitation is losing them, and losing all of the hours where we only built love and security during the work week. Friday’s at the zoo will no longer be our game plan. I will no longer own their rainy days. They all now have different work… I can only hope that my work stays with them. 

The anticipation of our different work makes me proud of these lovely tiny humans, and I’m already anxiously anticipating the nostalgia of the years they only belonged home. My mama heart is mourning the loss of the most epic chapter of my short life. Schooling is going to capture her heart (it’s already her favorite), and I will miss them. I’m agitated by change. 

It’s time for them to go be awesome, and I anticipate nothing short of amazing for these school girls. 

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