I love school almost as much as I love fall. I have always been excited to see the new backpacks appear on store shelves and to feel the slight chill of fall in the air. There was even a point at which I thought the perfect career would be as a professional student. Thus, no one in my immediate family was at all surprised to hear I had decided to go back for a 3rd degree. I had completed the requisite 13 years of elementary through high school and then proceeded to spend 7 years as an undergraduate. So, of course, last year, newly pregnant with my Avi-bug, I decided it was time to head back to class. I applied for a Master’s of Nursing program and was accepted in March!
Obviously, it was with much anticipation and excitement that I ‘liked’ the heck out of everyone’s first day of school pictures. I remember being that little kid, wide gap-tooth smile and brand new backpack headed off to whatever grade to LEARN ALL THE STUFF! Plus this year AUGUST 25, my first day of 18th grade, loomed on the horizon. I was excited, ready, and certain that my family could take on the insanity ahead.
It kind of threw me when there were other reactions. They ranged from, “Oh, you’re going to school? Good luck with that…” to “Isn’t that selfish?” The negativity had never occurred to me, but I must admit it stopped me in my tracks. Wait, did I just ruin my life? Was this a horrible idea? NO.
Let me tell y’all a story.
There was a woman who fell in love with a guy. He had a drinking problem, but it wasn’t apparent in the beginning and they had a baby. His drinking got worse and there was an oops. Baby #2. There was never enough money, sometimes she didn’t have diapers for her babies. It got worse. There were totaled cars and peeing in corners and never money. She had enough. She took her girls, moved in with her mom, and they moved to another state. She was brave. She applied for welfare and they scraped by with secondhand clothes very little anything. She had a GED. She looked into her options. She could live on welfare, she could work a minimum wage job that barely covered childcare and still need assistance, or she could go to college and have a chance to support her family. She chose college. She knew that furthering her education was a path to increased stability in the future even though the short term would be a ball of stress. In 1993 she graduated with her nursing degree. My sister and I met her on stage to pin her, I will always remember that hug, that day. I was so proud of her.
I never felt neglected, or like my mom didn’t have enough time for me. I watched her work hard, I watched her struggle with papers and listened to her stories. I remember going to classes with her here and there, when no one could watch us, quietly coloring and being entranced with the huge lecture hall. I remember a CPR class, my sister and I practicing along on our dolls… “This could save a life…” My mom could save someone’s life.
She saved our lives.
I share this because moms are powerful. They make hard choices everyday. It’s been hard to have my decision to overall improve my quality of life be met with such negativity, but ultimately no one else is walking in my shoes. I will forever be the person who just does everything, because there may never be a right time, but there is always NOW.