Angels among us

In Fall of 2008, when I was 38, I went back to college. I didn’t want to just to further my education…I wanted to change the course of my entire life.

After my brush with Lyme arthritis, I realized that I could not physically work forever as a bedside nurse. When I reassessed what I really wanted to be doing, I came up with a huge list. Apparently while I was busy raising a family and working a job, I had neglected my dreams.

Since nursing is such a specialized field, I set out to get a non-nursing bachelor’s degree first. This degree was tailored to what I perceived as my weaknesses and interests. (Given my age and situation, I consider it a pretty tame midlife-crisis but, now that I face the student loans, I realize that it probably would have been cheaper to buy a sports car.)

When I started, I was a single mom with children aged 4, 5, 5, 6, 15, and 19. It was very difficult at first because my little ones did not understand timed tests, the need to focus when formulating a response, and pretty much privacy, in general.

One night, with a deadline looming, children pestering, and quitting on my mind, I got a call from my friend, Joanna. She was passing through and wanted to stop by. I cried on the phone to her and she came anyway (a mark of a true friend). That night, she made us tea, sent me to my computer, and stood watch over me.

Whenever my kids needed to ask me something, get a drink of water, or just randomly stare at me, she was there, gently filling the need and guiding them back to their beds while I finished and submitted my homework with just minutes to spare. Three years after I started college, Joanna was killed in a car accident so she never got to see the fruits of her labor at my graduation.

But whenever I felt that the weight of my life was too much and I wanted to quit, God sent another one of my earthly angels to encourage me. My coworkers, friends, and family, many without even knowing it, provided me with the encouragement and strength to keep going. My one sister, Janee, pestered me constantly (as only sisters can) over staying on task and finishing my degree ( I had to take a third semester of French more than 20 years after taking the first 2 semesters and it was almost my undoing).

Over the course of time, I was able to stick to it and finish my degree and move on to pursuing an MBA. My goals for myself became more defined and I did eventually leave nursing. I learned a lot going to college this second time around but the greatest thing I learned was that I may be single but I am not alone…my God is near and my life is overflowing with angels and all the better for it. So, thank you to all of my angels and congratulations on our graduation!

You are cordially invited to my pity party. Feel free to bring your own whine or wine.

I was cleaning out and organizing the files on my hard drive when I found this gem that I wrote a few years ago.  I write to vent since murder is against the law and I don’t look good in orange.

Got up early so I could do some paperwork. Emma decided to get up too. Did miscellaneous housework the elves forgot to do overnight. The kids were practically howling at the moon during breakfast. Got them on the bus without killing them or myself. Took Jeffrey, (yet another stray cat) to the vet. Clawed me and my new purse. Tried to drop said cat off at home but he wouldn’t get out of the car.

Took measurements for the door trim that Danny destroyed. Went to Lowe’s. Spent 2 hours ordering flooring for the kitchen, dining room, and living room, luckily I remembered the trim before I left. Couldn’t pay with my debit card because I had put a cap on it to prevent theft and I don’t have checks on that account. Feverishly ran from bank to bank to transfer money. Realized it was 2PM and I hadn’t eaten yet so I ate in the Walmart parking lot. I know…I’m classy like that. Stopped at Walmart for a few things.

In every aisle, I was behind a person who was leaning on their cart and slowly shuffling down the center of the aisle. After two light years, I grabbed my stuff and got in the checkout lane with the chattiest clerk and customers. Listened to a discussion of the merits of each can of dog food, beans, seasoned diced tomatoes and bagged cat food. Said customer also left the line during check out to “grab a few other things.”

I.hate.Walmart. Literally ran to my car. It was not a pretty sight. Ran into Aldi to get a few more boxes because 4 large boxes weren’t enough to hold the books I culled from my overburdened bookshelf. Felt like a thief because I took the empty boxes without buying anything. Really??? That Catholic upbringing still has me feeling guilty for everything?

Mailed package at Post Office. Flew home to get the kids. Unloaded the car and started dinner. Started having pity party because my kids need so much help with each part of their homework. Became drill sergeant extraordinaire since unoccupied kids decided to be mini hurricanes throughout the house. More homework. Took dinner to my parents. Had to listen to the details of the socks my dad wanted me to order him…read word for word from the cardboard insert that I was taking home with me.

Was feeling very crabby because I had hoped to finally sit down with my kids for a dinner together now that basketball season is finally over. Finally had to cut my dad short while feeling like the worst.daughter.ever. Moving into full fledged pity party. Had family dinner with hormonal preteens. Oh. joy. Next thing on the bucket list…a lobotomy. Finished homework finally. Kept having to send kids back to really do the clean up. All the while, I fielded calls and texts from half of my family members and everyone that I called earlier in the week while playing referee between my kids.

Joyous occasion culminated in Day 10 of friendship bread with 3 witchy preteens assisting. Had major freak-out over bad attitudes, bossiness and my exhaustion. Let’s hear it for friendship bread building the ties that bind. Heard stupid song “Everything is awesome” Refrained from punching the wall. Threw a spoon in the sink instead. Put friendship bread in oven and sent everyone to bed…

I should have gone to work today instead.