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48 Days

17 Mar


It’s 48 days until graduation.   Counting down to graduation used to be somewhat reassuring.   The past two years of my life have basically felt as if they were either in very high or very low speed, switching speedily from one to the other with no warning, completely consumed with PA school.  Whether I was going to class all day or working for free all day, I would come home at the end of each day, throw in some laundry, consider doing dishes (I hate dishes), pick up a little, read with Allie, make something that resembles dinner, and after she goes to bed, complete homework for the day and study again.  At some point, I went to the grocery store. At least I think I did, because where else would I get all of the coffee I mainlined.   There were days where I picked Allie up from gymnastics, ballet, hip-hop, and  even school if I got out early enough. One semester I even coached a team of cheerleaders for a youth football league, and I would teach them cheers involving spelling B-E-A-R-S while thinking in my head about atrial fibrillation or GI medications. I even maintain a happy relationship with my boyfriend. Most days I was in tune with the hustle and bustle, I was just used to it, because it was my life.   When your life is one event after the other with minimal rest and maximum speed, it’s just something you adjust to and really don’t think twice about.

But to be honest, there are some days I have felt almost as if I was drowning in obligations and activities while hoping that maybe, just maybe, I may grow extra limbs, don a super woman cape, and finish everything I started in one piece.  Mostly, I would finish everything for the day and feel like I had barely slid through a meat grinder, but I would be happy.  A key to surviving a crazy life is being above recognizing the insanity, because as soon as you acknowledge the quick sand, you will start to sink.

It’s not really that I’ve ever expected anyone to give me a trophy for being a single mother in graduate school with a minimal amount of family around to help me (and they would help, if I asked.)  I never think about it that way.  I just think of my life simply that.  My life.  It’s what I do, and it’s what I have chosen. I’ve chosen high education and a better life for myself and child. To be candid,  I’m just happy that I live in a place where I can choose what I do and how I do it.  Really,  the only thing I have ever expected to get is the education that I’ve paid and worked for, and maybe a hug from Allie when she isn’t wearing her sassy pants. But trophy or not, there are some days when I would compare the stress of it all, of life’s responsibilities, to a volcano.  It is as if there are times when maybe I’m just waiting to explode with tears, a real Mount Vesuvius on the brink of destruction.

And there are times when it has happened, when all of the responsibilities get a bit consuming.  The pile of laundry looks scary; my unwashed dishes beckon me;  my kitchen floors look as if a bunch of muddy ducks walked around on them; my daughter wants me to help with her math homework; I need to do about 100 more test questions to feel like I’ve studied; I forgot to return a redbox movie for the fifth day in a row; and lastly, I flattened the same tire within a 3 week span on my way to work.  Those days amount to tears, whining to my patient boyfriend, and maybe a self-indulgent nap, all the while wondering what I have gotten myself into and wallowing in self-pity.   But those times are usually followed by immediately picking myself up and getting on with it all. I’m pretty optimistic, so rolling around crying in my bed has never been a routine.  I much prefer being happy with a dry face and drinking Diet Pepsi.  I even buy myself flowers sometimes.  I’m that kind of sunshine happy most days.

A lot of people tell me they are proud of me.  And I’m thankful.  It’s nice to know that someone is proud of you, or that someone looks up to you.  For me, knowing that you are a role model to someone because they want you to be is a great reward. Or just knowing that someone took time out of their day to recognize that you are still breathing through all of it is nice.  It’s a sign you are doing something right. In all of the mess of this world, someone decided you were doing something right, and it was an inspiration.   However, there are times when people act like I’ve performed a miracle, maybe because I’m a single mother in graduate school making it, maybe it’s just because I’m a woman and making it.  All I know is that I can’t decide if I should say thank you or be offended, because I’ve always known I could do it.  So I just expected other people to know too.

I guess the overall point of this, if you are searching for one, is that I graduate in 48 days. There have been a few meltdowns along the way, but mostly I’ve been happy and busy.  It’s a day I’ve looked forward to since quitting two jobs to go back to school.  It’s a day I’ve looked forward to since starting college, the day when I would no longer need to attend.  But as it approaches, the pressure is getting a little intense.  Because after graduation is the test of a lifetime and another new start with a job.  I feel a Vesuvius type explosion coming on any day now:  Instead, I think I’ll just relax and enjoy the next 48 days, keep calm, and graduate.