Thursday, August 16, 2007

On (my) Life

I was sixteen when I graduated high school.

I was seventeen when I got married.

I was eighteen when I had my first child.

I was twenty when we purchased our first home.

I was twenty-one when I had my second child.

My life hasn't unfolded in typical fashion, but each one of these events was a definite choice. Most who share the path I've traveled, don't necessarily do so by choice. A surprise pregnancy or a multitude of other events prods them onto this path. Outsiders frequently do the math (BubTar is 5, we had our 6th wedding anniversary in May) and look at us knowingly, except they don't really know. We chose to get married, then we chose to start a family. And I wouldn't change one of these decisions.

I started college at sixteen, on the heels of graduation. I was at least a full two years younger than everyone. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do, but I was studying child development. My first semester went great. My second semester started well, but then I received a job offer that required me to drop about half my course load and I did it. Towards the end of the semester, I had to have knee surgery. I missed finals because of it. My professors were all understanding and gave me modified assignments I could just drop off at their offices. Well, I didn't. I had surgery, and three weeks later I got married. I was distracted and let's face it, I was little more than a child in many ways. Josh was a given. We knew that we could spend the rest of our lives together. It was an easy decision. Of all the things I didn't know at that age, that was one of the few I did know. He and I, we could walk through this life together. In other areas of life, there were still so many unknowns; mistakes to be made, things to be learned about both the world and myself. I had growing up to do.

We got married and took a semester off to be together, the adjust to this new life. Oh, and get pregnant. So I took off the next semester as well. And the next. Now that I had this small person in my full time care, I realized that I didn't want to be in charge of other people's children as my source of employment. I didn't know what I ultimately wanted to do, so I put off school a bit longer.

I went back while pregnant with KayTar, I finished a semester, but it was difficult because her pregnancy wasn't really low key. I had preterm labor starting at 22 weeks and missed classes here and there on days when I struggled with contractions. Luckily, the classes I was taking were subjects that came naturally to me and even missing on occassion didn't set me back too much. The next semester held child birth and life with a newborn and so again, I didn't return. And I haven't since. Our life hasn't had much flex-time. We both worked full time, until things with KayTar became my full time job. Without knowing exactly what you are pursuing, adding stress to an already busy family life isn't worthwhile. At least it wasn't for me.

But I think that has changed. Having KayTar, with all the challenges and questions, has opened up a new world for me. The world of medicine, and it fascinates me. The fascination isn't limited to conditions that are linked to KayTar, medicine in general interests me a great deal. Not in the passing interest of youth, but really and truly engages me. Medical school is but a pipe dream, too many hours, too many dollars, too much stress on the family. But I have an interest. I know my direction. I feel competent and capable of starting out on a new path.

And so, in the babiest of baby steps, in October I'll be going back to school to be certified in an area that will allow me to gain experience in the field while concurrently helping to fund my foray back into school. The plan is certification, nursing school, and beyond. It is a bit overwhelming, suddenly making these decisions after staying up nights light-heartedly discussing them with Josh. Stepping on the path I've been eying for a while now seems monumental.

Our lives are packed already. KayTar is a full time job, I mean that in the best possible way, but it is true. It seems impossible to think we have any wiggle room in our schedules, but I know it is there. I'll be taking classes in the evenings once Josh is home with the kids. It will be a bit like shift parenting for a while. I'll miss dinner and return home once the kids are tucked into bed four nights a week, but there will still be a couple hours to spend with Josh before we head to bed ourselves. Spending the day with the kids will make it easier to miss out on the bedtime tuck in. It is doable, but it seems daunting all the same. Thinking of it as a far off goal is easy, the act of moving towards it is not quite as simple.

BubTar goes back to school half days this month, and KayTar will most likely be in a half-day in-district preschool program for kiddos like her come February. Next year, BubTar will be in a full day classroom. The following year, KayTar will be entering full day Kindergarten. Slowly but surely time will be coming back to me. Time away from the kids, time that can be spent working or in school. It may takes several years to walk down this path and reach the goals at the end, but being on the path, taking the first tiny step, it feels good. But I'm left with one very important question:

When will I find time for blogging? ;)


NotSoSage said...

My friend, I am constantly blown away by your age because - no, I'm not going to pull out my crone hat and talk about how young you are - you speak with maturity and assuredness that most people I know in their 20s (myself included...for 7 more days) don't even come close to.

This is an amazing journey you're on. I'm excited for you and so glad to be witnessing it.

And blogging? Just bring a laptop to class and compose your posts there, ready to copy and paste and publish just before bed! :)

metro mama said...

Congratulations on making this decision. You know, it seems monumental now, but the years will fly and before you know it you'll be done. I just finished my undergrad this year after 7 years. Don't worry, you make time for what's important.

Kristin said...

I'm so excited for you and your decision. Medicine has always been my "field of choice" and nursing school when my kiddos are bigger is my plan too.

You will make an AWESOME nurse one day. Do you know which part particularly interests you?

Sarah said...

I've been lurking for awhile, but I wanted to say good luck and congrats on this decision-- school and kids is hard but so rewarding. And trust me, my dissertaion is open in another window-- blogging takes care of itself!

jo(e) said...

I too am always amazed when you say how young you are since you seem to handle life with such maturity and grace. I think your plan sounds terrific.

Julie Pippert said...

I have absolute faith in you. It has all unfolded this way so it can be thus.

You will be fantastic...patients will be lucky to have you.


Cheerleaders are right here, behind you. :)

Ravin' Picture Maven

Anonymous said...

This is so exciting! You write with such maturity, and I'm sure you live that way as well. You'll be a great student/mom.


Girlplustwo said...

this is what i am always saying to you - your wisdom and grace at such a young age. no wonder.

whatever you do you will shine.

OhTheJoys said...

I think you will make a great nurse. What a good idea.

You are so solid.

(It embarasses me to admit how NOT put together I was at your age.)

Anonymous said...

Kyla - for the answer to the last question, see the early stages of my blog. All written when I was in my last year of law school. I maintain that it was my best writing, and I have been disapointed with my writing since I graduated. You will find time, and you will be great.

S said...

Oh, Kyla! I feel like a proud mama! Cuz I could be your mama, y'know...

You are amazing. I have every confidence that you'll be a nurse in no time, and who knows, maybe someday an MD as well.

Becca said...

Wow! That is wonderful! I will echo what others have said, you are going to do great!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kyla! I have two kids and am going to school somewhat full time. It will be okay. I love the intellectual stimulation.

You'll find time to blog if you want to. My first year of blogging I wrote almost every day. Then school came and I have a on again off again relationship with blogging not only because of school but because I need to feel rooted in my day-to-day life, too.

You'll figure out what you want out of blogging and how important it is to you when the time comes. For now, enjoy it.

And wen you go back to school, I'm here to share notes with!!

Christine said...

how exciting to be setting out on a new path, a new journey. and you'll find time to blog for sure, because you'll miss us SO much!

Cristina said...

Wow - you have accomplished SO much so young. You really seem wiser and more mature than your years (and I completely mean that as a compliment!) Good luck pursuing school. You will be great!

(On a totally different topic, I have to apologize for not responding to a question you left in the comments of my blog post on body products and dioxane. You asked how dioxane is listed in the ingredients. Unfortunately, it's probably not listed at all b/c the FDA doesn't require that it be listed.

Here is what the press release from the Breast Cancer Fund says:

"1,4-Dioxane is a petroleum-derived contaminant considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a clear-cut animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program. It is also on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected by the state to cause cancer or birth defects. Because it is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels." )

kittenpie said...

That's a great thing, to find something that you are interested in, to find a way to make it yours. It's clear you are going in eyes open to the fact that it won't be easy for a couple of years, but it's also my feeling that if you have a goal and you know the time span you have to put up with something for to get there, it's doable. And you, you will do a great job of it, I know. I think you'd make a great nurse for all the right reasons.

Karianna said...

Wow, what an exciting plan!

Best of luck as you juggle all these many roles and passions.

Chaotic Joy said...

Congratulations Kyla. I think that's wonderful, I do. You'll find a way to juggle it, I have no doubt.

I will be joining you juggling kis and school in a couple years, and will be looking forward to the tips I can find on your BLOG, because I have no doubt it will survive the change.

~aj~ said...

Kyla, I am so excited for you! It's obviously something you've thought about for a long time and I know it's something you can do and be GREAT at!

I also love the medical field and have thoughts of getting an additional degree in it someday.

Just hope you will find the time for blogging. I couldn't go without my (almost) daily fix!

cinnamon gurl said...

Wow, that's great! I love having a plan to work towards something that's important to me... and I'll echo everyone else here that you will be a great nurse! Good luck!

motherbumper said...

My hats off to you. I was clueless until I was 30 (seriously, I pretty much was). You are an amazing person Kyla and I mean that 100%. You will be Dr. Kyla.

And you will always find time for blogging ;)

Katie said...

so I'm a little late on this one, but hurray! Kyla you can be my example. I, too, have done the in and out of school thing accompanied by the life path less chosen...kuddos for jumping back in!