Monday, August 12, 2013

The Importance of Transitions in Writing and in Life

Writers know how important transitions are to make their words flow smoothly so readers can understand what they are trying to communicate and don't get lost. According to the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "transitions glue our ideas and our essays together."

In my little corner of the world, the past few days have been a time of major transitions. For us, the love of family and the kindness of friends have been the glue that has kept us together.

Last Thursday my grandson attended Freshman Transition Day at his new high school.

Being a shy kid, the thought of switching from a small Catholic elementary school to a large public high school has been intimidating. On the drive to his new school, he and his best friend from grade school told me how nervous they were.

By the time I picked them up three hours later, they told me how much fun they had and how they can't wait to start their new high school.

During transition day, my grandson met other students, found his way to his locker and classes, had a teacher/coach invite him to try out for a team, and even talked to some girls. His transition day was a big hit!

First-day jitters is the last hurdle he has to overcome: riding the school bus and maneuvering through his first lunch period, but experiencing transition day has made that prospect less daunting.

And he isn't the only one making a major change this month.

Yesterday, my granddaughter began her trek to college, where it's Rush Week for coeds interested in Greek Life and thinking about joining a sorority.

After a quick breakfast, my husband and grandson loaded her car and mine. We barely fit her stuff into two cars with room for two of us in each vehicle; I wondered how she would fit everything in her half of the dorm room.

Oops, they're not called dorms anymore; they're called residence halls.

On the 100-mile drive, she and I had a good talk. Mostly, I listened, and we both shed some tears. To keep her eyes dry while she drove, I read out loud a few pages from Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie, creator of the TOMS shoe company.

She had already started reading the book but needs to have it finished for a group discussion the first week at school -- and I'm always happy to read and learn, especially if it's something my grandchildren are reading and learning.

Upon arrival, we were directed to park in spots designated for 20-minute unloading. That's when the fun began. The scene was controlled chaos as students and family members unloaded cars, trucks, and vans then waited their turns to check in and haul everything up to their rooms.

Several hours later, with the help of her grandpa and "little" brother, who did most of the heavy lifting and moving of furniture, she was unpacked and ready to register for Greek Week.

After sharing a late lunch with the family of one of her good friends, we loaded the dolly, the empty suitcases, and the storage containers into my car for the trip home.

By 6 p.m., we said our farewells and shed even more tears as we watched her and her friend head off for their first Greek Life meeting and the beginning of a new chapter in her life.

Loving families, good friends, and smooth transitions; without them, we'd be lost.


  1. You didn't meant to, but you brought a tear to my eye. All these firsts go by so quickly we hardly enjoy them at the moment. Your own transitions brought to mind similar ones of my own. If only we could put the good ones into slow motion at the time! It sounds like everyone at your house is off to a good start!

  2. Donna, I'm sure your grandkids have learned and will continue to learn a lot from you and Walt, just as you from them. They're going to be great, no worries!

  3. I am glad your transitions are going well. I agree, they are made so much better with good friends and family. Wishing your gang all the best for a great school year!

  4. Donna, I loved this blog entry! I"m so glad your grandson liked his first day of High School and sounds like your granddaughter is doing well in the first steps of her college journey. When I started college no one in my family had been in a sorority, but I ended up going through Rush, Pledged Chi Omega and loved it!

  5. Donna--What an exciting time for both your grandkids. They are good-looking, obviously sweet and certainly well-grounded kids. They will succeed--there's no doubt about it...

  6. This blog post was so touching. There are new things on the horizon for all of you. wishing you all love and a successful year.

  7. Donna, I may have seen or passed you on the road yesterday. I was out there visiting a friend and since my friend works on campus, we got a tour and saw all the kids/parents unloading and getting ready for their new adventure. I'm sure both your grandchildren will do fine - they've had you as a fine example!

  8. Donna, great post! Gosh, how will it feel to not drive to and from a school anymore?? Time definitely flies by so fast...

  9. Wishing them both all the best. And you, too. I sent my son off to college Saturday. He's having a blast at orientation week. Us, not so much. It gets a little easier each day, I guess.

  10. Congrats to your grandchildren on their new, successful transitions!

    I have a child going to a new school for first grade. She will be going from a large public school to a small Catholic school. We're hoping the new school is a better fit for her. First grade will be the first time she'll be in school full-day. She is nervous, and I've cried on and off all summer at the thought of my first baby going to school for the full-day for the first time, and in a school where she doesn't know anyone, to boot! My family and friends have hunkered down to support us with encouraging words. Yes, family and friends can help make transitions smoother. Thank God for them, right?

    Blessings to you and yours...

  11. Hi Claudia,
    I didn't mean to make you cry. We are off to a good start.

    Hi Madeline,
    Thanks. We all are doing well.

    Hi Karen,
    So far, so good.

    Hi Leslie,
    It has been a busy week for her. I had no idea Rush week was such a big deal, but live and learn.

    Hi Sioux,
    Aw. You're so sweet. I bet you're having some busy days with school starting too.

    Hi Linda,
    Thanks. It's been a wild one.

    Hi Lynn,
    Darn. Too bad I didn't see you last Sunday. It was crazy on campus, and I bet there's even more going on this week.

    Hi Becky,
    This has been transition week, and there will be a lot of changes around her. I won't miss driving to carpool so much.

    Hi Val,
    Glad to hear your son is having a blast at orientation week. I think it's a good thing they keep busy so they're not too homesick.

    Hi Janette Dolores,
    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    Congratulations on your child's new adventure. The first few days will be hard, but she will make it!

    Thanks for you blessings, and I'm sending them back to you!


  12. The new school year and fresh adventures...a bittersweet but exciting time. I have no doubt both your grand-kiddos will adjust beautifully to this new chapter of their lives.

    Critter Alley

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Sorry Donna, Blogger entered my comment twice and when I tried to remove one...(see above). Ugh!

  15. I remember when my kids started college. Oh, and I remember moving into the dorms (with two of them anyway - one got all of his education at our local univ.)That was an adventure in itself. Congratulations to their great transitions.


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