No, I can't hang out. No, sorry, I don't think I can make it. No, I have a paper due. No, seems like the only vocabulary word in my arsenal of big fancy words that I've paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to know. I can't hang out, because I have homework. No, bub I can't play Trouble, I'm writing a paper. Breathing in the scent of my children gives me the drive to push forward in this huge task I've committed to.
When I first started graduate school, I thought I would be the one making all the sacrifices and handling all the challenges. I was naive to think that grad school only affected me. I didn't take the time to consider how hard it would be on those I loved. A year into my 3 year program I learned that many couples get divorced while one is going through graduate school. It makes me wonder if it is simply because the non-student spouse got tired of hearing "no" for the millionth time. Is it because the burden of grad school that is felt by all. The student's slack has to be picked up somewhere, and that typically falls on the spouse.
Starting this god awful, long journey was something I did to better my family's livelihood and show my kids that if you want something bad enough, you can achieve it. As I'm entering my last leg of this extremely demanding and intense program, I can breathe a little. My kids see a strong woman who is determined to finish what she started. They also see someone who has struggled, and failed, struggled some more and achieved a balance with school work and play with them. Do we get to play games every night, no, but we do get to have dance parties in the kitchen when my eyes are crossed from being in the middle of a 15 page research paper. They will remember what my voice sounded like singing them the good morning song every day before school. They will know that, though I had many stumbles through this journey, I made time to enjoy their smile while on an alligator hunt.
The take away that I hope for my children to grasp is, nothing is out of reach. No one ever said life would be easy, but if you want it you work for it. If you're working for what you want, you're also taking the time out to enjoy and appreciate those you love. The time will come when I walk across that stage and the trails will be over, and those three sweet babies will be there to bear witness. My husband who has had the patience of a saint when it comes to my schooling will know we made it through, and everyone in my household will be better for it.
So, while I still have to say "no" more often than I want to, soon will come the day when I can begin saying "yes" again.