Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Day of School

Monday marked my first day of school. My 18th first day of school, and my first in seven years. Sam took this picture to commemorate the occasion, and after taking it, he said "I think you'll like this one." In actuality, it's not my favorite. I think I look really tired, but maybe that means it's a good picture because it's accurate.

The report on school is that I have one graduate level class that meets once a week, and I think it's going to be ok. I have to do field work (observing in a school) and a group presentation, but I should be able to finish both before the baby comes. There are also four papers, which my teacher said I can hand in early, and tons of reading. Basically, I think I'll have a busy two months before this baby comes, and then I can just wing it, hopefully missing very few classes. The point is, I'm so excited to be doing this, and my professor seemed rather helpful in making sure I succeed this semester.

The other interesting thing is the shift in responsibilities occurring in our family as I take on this new role of student. Because I was required to take 4.5 credits to receive financial aid, I decided to take two one-credit classes rather than committing to another graduate level class. I'm taking a yoga class and a meditation class, which I am so happy about, but it means that my schedule worked out for me to be on campus five days a week. Add to that the multiple doctors appointments I've been having (seeing the midwives every two weeks now, acupuncture, and multiple trips to the lab), and I feel like I've been away from home a ton lately. I have always been vehemently opposed to referring to Sam as a "babysitter" when I'm away, but the truth of the matter is that I have been Bria's primary caregiver for the last 1,950 days. Sam works really hard, and lately he has been working weekends and double shifts to bank some time to take off when the baby comes, and here I am waltzing off to school, which twice a week will just mean meditation. I am experiencing some guilt. Sam assures me it is completely irrational to feel that way, but right now it is my truth. I have to imagine this will get worse as I eventually take more classes and then as I choose to work full-time rather than stay home full-time. This guilt and conflict about wanting to nourish my soul but feeling this cultural pressure to be with my children constantly has plagued me since before I even felt the flutters of Bria's first kicks.

On Monday Sam and Bria accompanied me up to campus to get a quick look around before I went to class. We sat in the student center eating a late lunch, and Sam just gushed about how excited he is for me. It almost felt anticlimactic at that point. For years I wanted to find a path to follow (I considered so many different ones), and I finally, finally, committed to one. Then I applied and cried and stressed about creating the best application and worrying what I would do if I didn't get it. But ever since I was accepted, I have been so consumed in preparing for this little boy, there has been hardly any room for excitement. But here I am starting grad school. It's real. It's happening.

Here we go.