Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feeling a little heart achey

I got sent on a mission today to photograph the seventeen buildings in the network of churches and organizations that partner with a local non-profit I volunteer for, Family Promise. It was a pleasant way to spend the day, if you don't count the broken air conditioner in my car, the 90 degree heat, and my black leather seats. 

One of the organizations in their network happens to be Carroll College, the beautiful campus where I found my way through my first year in an English Writing program just this past school year. Classes are back in session as of this past Monday and I've been grappling with what feels a lot like mourning since late last week. I'm not joining the other [often not nearly as eager] students this Fall. Probably not this next Spring either.
I'm essentially due to deliver my son around Finals week of this semester. Not exactly ideal. And then I'll have a four week old infant as students return from their Christmas Breaks for the Spring. I understand why that doesn't really work. And yet I'm yearning for it so, so dearly. I actually dreamt about it a couple of nights ago. The entire dream consisted of my strolling happily between the classrooms of Simperman Hall and thinking to myself, "Hm. It's strange that the professors are expecting me in my classes. I un-registered from all of these. Sure glad they saved me a spot!" and then, "What are you going to do when the baby is born? Oh well! We'll cross that bridge when we get there!" I dreamt in the sort of Pollyanna verse I wish I could live by sometimes.
The gritty reality of it is that I'm an obsessive perfectionist who darn near killed herself last year. I barely slept. I rarely had time to eat. I fretted and stressed constantly. I am aware of this. And I am aware that my husband is right when he says I simply can't do that to myself while pregnant. None of that, however, changes the fact that, today, I am achey.
As a kid, I fantasized about life as a college student. I know, I  know. Call me a nerd. It's fine. I'm used to it by now. But I did. I pictured myself wearing sweaters and funky plastic framed glasses (it was very much to my chagrin that my eye sight turned out to be perfect), sitting on a grassy hill somewhere in the middle of a history rich campus surrounded by a pile of books. That was my version of a bright and exciting future.
I waited six years after high school to finally make it there. And now, one very short year later, it feels further from me than ever before.
Here is where it becomes necessary for me to remind you (and myself) that I am truly thrilled to be becoming a mother. Truly. The desire to be a mom radiated from my bones for two years before I got pregnant.
But I crave writing, too. It's like a thirst I can't quench. I know I still have so much to learn.
Last year, my dream felt like it was there for the taking. I was learning and growing and creating and stretching and absorbing and experimenting and thriving. I was drinking my fill, and making plans to bring a bigger cup.
And now, if I am lucky, I'll get back to school Fall of 2012. But, let's be real: the odds of that are pretty slim. Our finances were tight last year. Now I want to throw the financial responsibilities of a baby in the mix and make that work? My time and energies were absolutely maxed out. How can I expect to be a the kind of mother I want to be and an over achieving, professor-pleasing student?

Am I really looking at a solid ten years (accounting for the fact that we plan to have more kids) before I can even wet my lips again? My creative throat feels dry already.

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