The summer is waning. Have you noticed? The light is thick and golden in the evenings, and the grass in the front yard is turning crisp and tawny. Sunflowers bob beside the road. This portion of summer is like the saved last few bites of frosting from your favorite cake. That is, if you love frosting more than cake. I do. Right now tomatoes are ripening and mornings are just cool enough to start the day beautifully, and I wish it would never never ever end.
Of course, it will end, and very soon, because school is bearing down on us all. This year is different, because not only are all of my children going to school this fall, I am too.
I never finished my degree. I have a ridiculous number of credits, but no degree. I could teach you The Kira Method for achieving this (change schools at least once, change majors often, change minors like a madwoman), but it might be easier to just flush money directly down the toilet. Heh.
THIS time, however, I am only about a year and a half out from finishing my degree for realz. Of course, first I have to navigate the...everything about returning to college. I had to take a math placement exam, because the "Math for Educators" class that I barely squeaked by in twenty five years ago (!) somehow won't do anymore. So I studied up for the test, took it, was told my score was too low, then found out that my score was plenty fine, but they'd put in my student ID number wrong, which is a problem that could never possibly be solved, so I'll have to take the test again.
For reals, higher education. For. Reals.
There's a lot I'm nervous about here. The schedule, gracious. How am I going to get three kids to three different schools and pick them up again? If that was all I did all day, I would still need at least one more of me. Clay and my mom and dad are all on board to help, but they all have jobs and whatnot and gar. I just don't know.
Also, I'm going to have to let go of a good deal of the stuff that I habitually do around here, like cooking and cleaning and...wait, this part is actually great. I mean, yeah, I know it's not going to get done like I like it, but on the other hand, I won't be doing it. I would pretty much prefer to set my hair on fire over cooking another meal. So this actually is just fine.
But you know, time will be tight, money will be crazy tight, my elderly van absolutely must live another two to three years, and the kids may absolutely not have any crises until I'm done with school. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry. That's parenting teen humor there. It's not actually funny.
But one of the hoops I had to jump through to register for classes was to see an advisor about my major (English, with a writing emphasis. Please don't everyone jump up at once to hire me). The English advisors are a massive pain in the butt. They don't make appointments, so you just have to show up during office hours and hope they deign to see you. Then they act like you're clearly interrupting their ART by existing in their office. It's great. It gives me an opportunity to use that old Lamaze breathing.
Nonetheless, this meeting went fairly well, even though he sent me off to get a copy of my transcript from the bursar's office because he doesn't like the computer system that he could use to look up my transcript (deeeeep breath). When I returned and handed him the requested transcript, he looked at it, squinted, cocked his head, then said to me, "I...I'm just not sure what you were doing here. With all these...classes?"
That would be The Kira Method. Don't be jealous. I managed to convince him to move past all that, and just tell me what I needed to take to finish already. Turns out I'm in good shape, really close to finishing up my major. He handed the papers back to me, then fixed me with A Look. He leaned back in his chair, folded his hands across his stomach, smirked ever so slightly, and said, "Well. It must be pretty intimidating, isn't it? To come back after all these years?"
And I smiled, thinking of the chaos at home, of the years and mountains and traumas and triumphs I'd weathered in the years I've been gone. I thought of my babies, sprawling and stomping their way out into the world, and of my steadfast husband, weathering it all by my side. And I smiled right back at him.
"Nope. Not a bit."