I walked into the door almost late, as always was my prerogative before.
Sitting down in the empty row in the small and cold computer lab I felt nervous, self-conscious and unprepared. I didn’t have any kind of list of materials yet, nor the heavy spiral-bound book that would become my new partner in this journey.
At 30, as I sat 38 weeks pregnant and fresh from a short stint at my local paper, I had a totally different life view.
I could be “Mom”, I could be home. I could take care of the kids the way we wanted to. I was blessed.
I educated myself on diapers, toys and the latest politically-correct stance to take on current events. I started a blog.
I promised myself since I couldn’t celebrate my 30th in any big fashion, that I would have a blowout and really get a chance to make myself feel special.
I never thought I would be in the classroom again, never thought that instead of celebrating my 35th birthday, I would be taking a college midterm and stalking LinkedIn for possible jobs to fill in the meantime.
Starting over again.
We had a major hit financially this year, and I came to the realization that my life as I knew it was ending, and I had to start somewhere else. I couldn’t play at stay-at-home mom anymore, pin impossibly cute crafts and take my son to the park whenever the walls of the house closed in.
It took months, but I found a minimum wage job to help fill in the hole and registered myself in my local community college to start taking GIS computer system classes.
Instead of my occupation of primary caretaker, I am hoping to become the primary breadwinner.
After five years at home and two little boys, I had finally settled into a pace of being home, being busy and being mom. The place that had taken over any earlier ambitions I’d had, what I had fantasized in high school when I picked up my dad’s old camera and started snapping away with black and white film.
I’d kept an old National Geographic map taped onto my closet door with notes about what I wanted to take pictures of. Lions on safari, stalking their prey. The stone soldier army in China. The Sun Dance.
The travel I wanted, the still pictures in my mind. The Taj Mahal. Casual shots of passers by as I sat in a Paris café. Exploring the ruins of long-gone civilizations who worshipped the seasons, which now trend on Instagram every few months.
My whole life has been a series of start-overs. Plans change, interests wax and wane like the moon, and life doesn’t go how you planned, ever.
I looked around that first day and saw a series of fresh starts—a few young students, but some like me, who wanted to learn more to get a better job, to get better financial security, who needed to fit in their fresh new start after making dinner and kissing the kids goodbye, before and after starting their shifts at work.
So a couple times a week, I get dinner started, kiss the kids goodbye and grabbed the bag with my textbook, the notebook and pen, useless at best in this time of technology and slideshow lectures being posted online. A different way of learning, as I sweep the dust off my student self and walk down that same path again with a heavy load.
Mother, worker, writer, student.
Starting life over, again.