Tag Archives: Education

The “F” Word

14 Jan

As you may have noticed, I get very nostalgic when you hit major milestones: your first laugh, your first words, your first steps, your first birthday, your second birthday, your first big boy bed…the list goes on.

But it’s not just you. I get nostalgic about big milestones in my life too. When you’re younger there aren’t “milestones” as much as there are “days that just won’t get here fast enough.” Time is an unimportant concept when you’re little, except when it’s not going fast enough. The only problem is that time never really slows down after that. Then suddenly you’re where I am: starting your last first day of school.

Yes, I’m aware of how silly that sounds.

But today — January 13, 2013 — is my last first day of school. I graduate from college in May and then…who knows what could happen? (Hint: Jobs and grad school, that’s what).

But before grad school happens, I’m going to see what I can do with my writing. J and I talked about turning our open adoption into a book for future birth mothers and adoptive mothers. We want to give both of our perspectives on the experience so that those women might get some insight and reference into what “openness” can mean and how wonderful it can be. When The B’s and I first started out, we used to joke about how we didn’t know what we’re doing because “there’s no book on this.” We’re going to see if we can change that :)

But grad school is on my agenda, even if it’s a a year or so in the future. And there it is, that scary but enticing F-word — the Future. I don’t know what it holds. I don’t know what I’m in for. No one my age really does. We’re all excited for what’s next but terrified of what it might be. We have dreams of careers and new cities and big opportunities. We have fears of getting stuck or being uncertain or not achieving what we set out to do. We want to make the most of our lives but sometimes, we’re not sure where to start. The journey is the undeniable fun part of growing up but every now and then, it’s almost as if we’re kids again — we just can’t wait to get there (and be settled) already.

My last first day of school is having quite the effect on me…more so than I anticipated. On one hand, the thought of having homework and doing research and studying for finals is such an unwelcome thought. On the other hand, I have no idea what I’m going to do without it come August. I’ve been in school my entire life. It’s what I know. But after May, I’m going a year without it (or more if I don’t get into grad school right away…did I mention that the future can be terrifying?). Some lucky college grads already have post-graduation plans, but aside from a trip to Europe with your Aunt S and my work on your (our) book, I’ve got nothin’.

In some ways, not having plans for post-graduation is the gutsiest thing I’ve ever done. So as much as it scares me, it also makes me a little proud of myself. And that’s where the excitement kicks in. Because when you don’t have plans, you can go anywhere. You can do anything. The freedom is intoxicating because you realize you have the world at your feet and there’s no “plan” that’s going to keep you away from chasing whatever passions you have. All you need is the ambition and determination and confidence to take it on. Luckily, I’m not lacking in any of those categories.

So yes — today is my last first day of college. And when May finally comes, I’m going to cry, and come August, I’m going to miss it. But today, I’ve still got four glorious months of college-life left. It may be my last first day of school but it’s not my last “first.” I’ve still got many, many more of those to go — as do all of my fellow May grads.

As do you :) See, that’s one of the wonderful things about having a child — you get to relive those firsts all over again.

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Education, Preparation and Kinda-Sorta-Parenting

14 Mar

I am a psychology major. This phrase is almost second nature to me, because I get asked a lot – “Oh you’re in college? That’s wonderful! What is your major?” It comes with the territory of going to school; it’s an icebreaker, an easy topic of conversation. You’ll know what I’m talking about one day.

 Honestly, I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. Honestly, I just majored in it because I found it interesting, not because it promised any flourishing career choices. Honestly, I want to be a writer. But I actually get up in the morning looking forward to my day. I am always excited to sign up for classes. I’m a certifiable nerd and I love it. Because I find psychology interesting, I retain almost all of the information I learn.

 This semester, I am taking Developmental Psychology. I actually had an exam today on cognitive developmental theories, language development and emotional development in infants and toddlers. I know…it sounds SO exciting. Actually, developmental psychology was not a class I ever thought I would be all too interested in. But now, I’m scrambling to learn all that I can. Why? Well, you of course!

 Yesterday, I wrote you a letter about how your were fascinated with blowing raspberries. That once you learned how to, you didn’t stop for weeks. Last night while studying for my exam, I learned that was called a “circular reaction” – when babies learn they can do something and then do it over and over again.

 I know that big college words mean nothing to you right now (because on occasion, they mean very little to me), but I almost feel like I’m cheating on my imaginary parenting test by learning all of this stuff about little ones. It’s neat, though – it’s like getting a glimpse into your mind and how you learn and what you understand. I am becoming well versed in toddler-ese and secretly, I’m hoping that this class, with my knowledgeable professor and tell-all textbook, will  teach me even more ways to connect with you. I might even be hoping that it teaches me how to parent.

 Truthfully, sometimes I wonder if I can consider myself a parent. The title of mother comes with being pregnant and giving birth to you and loving you like crazy, but there are times where I don’t feel as if I’ve earned the “parent” title. Why? Well because it IS something you earn. Being a parent is something you learn by doing, and technically, I don’t think I’ve done it yet.

 Another reason I’m not sure I can be considered a parent? Because the idea of parenting still terrifies me to no end.

 I can’t imagine the pressure of being  parent – you’re responsible for another life. Someone is looking up to you, whether you’re admirable at the time or not. Someone is following your example with no regard as to whether or not it’s worth following. Understanding the impact you have on your child…that’s the biggest parenting scare to me. How you treat them, how you talk to them, whether or not you support one thing over another, the smallest decisions or reactions…it shapes their lives. What kind of parent you are can make or break your child; I’ve seen the results.

 But the thing is, I still mess up. I still make mistakes. I still swear in traffic and wake up late and leave dishes in the sink for days. I’m not perfect yet. I don’t see a day when I will ever be perfect, but I still want to be a parent, and the two seem mutually exclusive. I always imagined you had to be past the “messing up stage” before you could be responsible for getting someone else through it. That’s the kind of parent I wanted to be anyways.

 I am your mother. And one day, I hope you will look up to me and follow my example and come to me for advice. But right now and forever, The B’s are your parents. They are responsible for all of the stuff that scares me and they seem to do it effortlessly, fearlessly. I’m over here with my Developmental Psych textbook, praying that the information I learn will somehow prevent me from accidentally screwing you up for life, and they’re over there just…being parents, not seeming to worry about whether or not they’re doing it right, and you are the happiest baby I’ve ever met. I don’t know how they do it, but I admire them.

 Even amongst my doubts that I can be considered one, I hope you see me as a parent. I hope that one day you see me as a role model. The only reason I’m afraid to be one is because I want to be the best one I can be for you. I want to be the best shining example of love and support possible. I want to be everything you will ever need. I want to say the right things at the right time. I want to be perfect for you. I know it’s not possible, but I want you to know that even though I can’t be perfect, I will do my best for you. I will overcome my parenting fears for you. I will stop worrying about doing it right and just love you instead. Maybe that’s all it takes. Either way, you deserve it.

 But until then, don’t mind the big, heavy textbooks that I lug around with me and stay up late reading at night. A little education and preparation never hurt anyone, right?

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