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: