I've been waiting for this week for a long time.
I've thought long and hard about it, made plans about it, studied the facts and issues for hours upon hours.
My decision for this week's event is based on what happened eight years ago. Eight long years ago.
As a result of that decision, my life has sometimes been turned upside down. It's been an emotional journey, and at times felt hopeless. But I've persevered because I knew that it was the only course. And now the time has come to put it all on the line.
I'm, of course, talking about my comprehensive graduate exams. (What? You thought I was talking about something else that's happening this week? Silly.)
Yes, it was eight years ago that I took my first graduate class at Western Oregon University, somehow turning a 3-summer program into an 8-summer program. I'm an overachiever like that.
No matter that some people *cough* my parents *cough* have worried I wouldn't finish, those same people have supported and loved me through it anyway. In fact, they're taking the girls for the two days that I'm taking the exams. All is forgiven, and no one will be happier or more relieved when that diploma comes in the mail than...my mother. Second place goes to my grandma. I think I'm probably fourth or fifth down the line.
The other good news is that I had an epiphany this weekend about my comps. Considering that "epiphany" is one of James Joyce's trademark themes, it was only fitting that it was while I was reading one of his books that I figured out how to pull everything together to answer one of the questions. I feel so much more relieved knowing that I won't totally embarrass myself on Friday (or Thursday, which is when I'm answering the education questions).
I can do this.
In fact, I'm glad I'm doing it. Not only because I've spent a considering amount of time, money and effort on the dang thing, but because I realized today that not once have I felt any measure of guilt that this has been part of my life as a parent. There may be things that I do give up, things that I sacrifice, many moments when "I" am low on the priority list, but getting this degree? I'm doing this for me.
It never occurred to me that I shouldn't do this. No one had to convince me that it was important. Even though the classwork was definitely harder to do after I became a mom, it was still something that I wanted to do. Always.
A lot of my life is about being a wife and a mom, but as Dr. Seuss said, "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."
Fingers crossed that after Friday I will be Me-er than Me, with a master of science in education.