Threads of the Pattern

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Back to School.

Three words that can cause joy for parents and nervousness, excitement and fear in children…and me. All of those emotions and more for me.

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After being out of school for (cough)16(cough) years, I am going back. Or going -period-, I guess, since I’ve never been to college.
I’m sure some of you are shaking your head in puzzlement. I have kids! A family! Also I can obviously put words together to make semi coherent sentences, right? So why school? Why now?

Well…honestly, because my children are getting older, definitely on the road to being trusted enough to be left at home alone for periods of time. When I was pregnant with my first daughter and working at a low paying but fun for a 20 year old clerk’s job, we agreed that the cost of childcare matched up against my meager paycheck just wasn’t worth it. Why hand over my entire pay check to a stranger that gets to spend all day with my child, when I could do the same thing and be able to really be there for her growing up? When my second daughter came along a little over a year later, it was a sealed deal. No job on my pay grade was worth it. It was a choice that we made, but one I have never regretted.
Except maybe on those few days when all my children were all small, and I was sick, and suffering from a combination of fever induced delirium, cabin fever and ‘hey mommy, look what I just drew on your freshly painted wall with marker?’

Have you ever seen Overboard? That movie with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell? There’s a scene where her husband comes home and she’s sitting in a chair, after a hard, crazy day with her rambunctious children (boys, naturally) and she’s staring off into space making nonsense noises. This is what I have most often referred to in those days. Heck, I felt that was last week. 😛

(Watch this: It’s hilarious.)

Anyway, my husband just recently went back to college, to train for a job that didn’t include plunging stranger’s toilets. He is absolutely enchanted with college and the whole process and so proud of himself for finishing and finishing well, he really inspired me to want to do the same. Just don’t tell him that, ok? Then he’ll get a big head, and know that I actually listen to what he says…and I’ve spent a really long time disabusing him of that notion. But really, he worked full time, went to school full time and came out of it with a good degree, and honestly a better attitude about everything. So it only took a little gentle prodding for me to fill out the paperwork and do the things necessary to begin.
And now, with only a few days left before the start of the semester, I can share with you that I am about 80% scared out of my mind, 15% sure I’m going to bomb this whole thing like I did my entrance exams for Math (HA! a 19! I didn’t even think they grade that low! Should have paid more attention to middle school math) and maybe the last 5% can be reserved for being excited. Not about school, maybe, but more about learning a new thing. I’ve always been self-taught; if I wanted to learn something I picked up a book or researched it until I was confident. Or, if I started and needed to set it aside for a while, I did. Now…now it will be different. There will be instructors and tests and (Good Lord!) group projects.

And time management! Can I even do that?

I think I can. With the part of my brain not paralyzed by fear, I know that my confidence will grow as these first semesters progress. My friends and loved ones are totally stoked for me to have this opportunity. I am totally stoked to have their support and my own personal cheering squad. Even my kids are excited by the prospect of mom going to school, though I think that excitement will wear off after about the second week. We’ve had many a discussion about how I will need them to pitch in more around the house, how when you see a stray sock on the floor or a displaced toy, you should pick it up, rather than step over it. And they have all nodded their heads with angelic faces. And all the while I knew they were going to turn around, step over that sock or that matchbox car and go on about their business in blissful oblivion.

I may survive two years of school. I still have doubts about whether or not my house will be standing at the end of it.

Sig



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