I talked to my sister Sara on the phone yesterday, and Lord she is hilarious. We are both, fingers crossed, graduating this May. I found out that my graduation is a week before hers, and I take great pride in the fact that I will graduate first, even if just a week before her, because I have been in college a year longer than she has. I'm lazy, what can I say.
Anyway, we were talking about the fact that we are both graduating, and I starting thinking today about what that really means. Honestly, I can't wrap my mind around that. How can I wrap my head around the idea that when May rolls around and summer begins, there will not be another semester looming in three short months?
I wonder if I will miss it. My first quick answer is of course, No! N to the O! Why in the world would I miss this torture? The constant worry and stress and always having something I should be working on? The classes that are so inconveniently scheduled during ER? Will not miss any of that junk.
But then, I consider this:
My first car was a light blue/silver Toyota Corolla. It was old, nearly as old as me. It boasted roll down windows, manual locks, a radio and a stylish red plaid blanket that covered the backseat to protect passengers from the disintegrating upholstery. I hated that car, envied my friends who drove nicer, flashier cars, and never stopped to consider that I should be grateful just to have some wheels.
Not too long after I got my driver's licence, I got in a wreck. It was easily one of the scariest things I have ever experienced, and luckily no one was hurt. No one besides my car. I was able to drive it home, but we all knew it would cost more than the car was worth to fix the damage.
I remember when I drove with my dad to drop it off at the auto shop, and remember being strangely sad when we left it there. Even sadder, when we brought it home and sold it to some guy for $200. The radiator was cracked, it was not worth much more. I suppose it could be my tendency to anthropomorphize things like shoes, stuffed animals, books, and cars that made me so sad to see the Toyota go. Regardless, my heart had a strange ache to it when the guy drove away. I was going to miss that car.
I wonder if I will feel the same about college, when it is gone and I am done. I'm almost certain I will look back with nostalgia and probably a little regret. Regret that I did not experience many things I thought I would, that I did not do as well as I could have, that I skipped classes and missed opportunities to really learn and grow. So while I am certainly glad that this time in school is coming to an end, I imagine I will feel a little blue when it's all done and over.
After graduation I plan on staying home with Norah, working maybe two shifts a week at the shelter. I love the idea of getting to stay home with her, because really that is what I've always wanted to do. I have always imagined that when I had kids, I would stay home with them. My mom, Donna, was always home with us, and I loved that.
(I need to clarify here that I do not believe that moms who stay at home are better than moms who work outside the home. I understand and respect that some women want and need to work outside the house. My mom, Emily, worked when we were young. I don't think women's mothering skills should be based entirely on whether they work in or out of the house. Neither kind of mom is better, just different.)
Anyway, that's the plan, and it's kind of nice having a plan. But sometimes I wonder if people think I wasted my time in school because I may not "use" my degree. I wonder if people look down on me for wanting to stay at home, for choosing not to go to graduate school or work somewhere other than the children's shelter. I wonder if people think I am lazy, lack drive to help society, have an antiquated picture of motherhood, blah blah blah.
People probably don't really think that much about me and my choice to stay at home. Probably, I am just, once again, worried about what amounts to nothing.
But still, I don't believe I wasted anything. Even if I don't use my degree in a traditional kind of way, the things I have learned in college have obviously shaped my life, who I am. And learning, simply for the sake of learning, is a good and godly thing. I'm proud of myself for finishing, as there were many times in the past three years that I was really set on never graduating. I love my job at the shelter, second to being Norah's mama I think working there reveals what I am best at. As for being lazy, if you know me well then you already know that I really am lazy, but that's not why I want to stay at home with Norah.
I want to stay home with her because being her mom is the greatest job I could imagine. Because my picture of my motherhood centers around being with her during the day, to change diapers and play chase and draw pictures and garden. To sing songs and make cookies and go to the park with our friends. I want to be home with her, and clearly many of these desires come from the way things were when I was young and at home. That's what I imagine my motherhood to look like, and I am gratefully in a place where I can do that.
So to wrap up this long winded and rambling essay of sorts: I am glad I am going to finish school, more excited than seems bearable. I'm sure I will be strangely sad when it's all done, but the end of school will allow me more free time to devote to being the mama I have always wanted to be.