My little girlfriends,
You two are the best. I never knew how much personality could come in such small packages. Or how much my emotions can make my heart pound. There are so many times I sit at my desk and look at pictures of you on my phone, and my heart is ready to burst with love. No matter what else I do in life, our family will always be my greatest accomplishment. For the past few months I have been so excited to start graduate school, but now that it’s in a few days, I’m nervous and scared.
It feels like the first time I went back to work from maternity leave. I cried on the way to work because I was sad to leave you, but once I stepped in the building, I was also happy to see my friends and use my talents at work again. Being a parent frequently leaves you feeling like you don’t know anything, so it was nice to do something I knew how to do. Going back to school feels similar. As we go into this new chapter as a family, there are a few things I want you to know.
Even though I’ll be gone a few more hours a week and I’ll probably be more rushed in the mornings than I already am, our family is still my top priority. Sometimes, though, in order to take care of your first priority in the long run, you have to focus on some of the other priorities for a little bit. It doesn’t change that you’re always the most important things to me. I don’t love working full-time hours while you’re so little and I want to be home more as you start school. My hope is that by doing this now, I can have more flexibility in the future and be actively involved in what’s important to you.
I enjoy what I do in my career. In a few years, I’ll try to not be annoying as I talk to you about your plans and what you’re learning in school. It’s just so fun to me. I love that I get to talk to people about education and what excites them every day. But as the years have gone by, I’ve developed a desire to have a greater impact. I’m still not sure exactly how I’ll do that, but I feel like this is a good step to get there. Education is important for us as individuals, so we can grow, but also as a society, so we can be better equipped to help others. Education blesses everyone.
Opportunity isn’t always convenient. The chance for free school is incredible, but it’s not exactly convenient to work full-time, go to school, and be a wife and mother. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take advantage of it. It just means that I’ll have to improve in some areas I’m not great at, let some things become a lesser priority, and give myself some grace that I can’t do it all. As you get older, I hope you don’t shy away from things you want because they seem like too big of a pain.
Much of what you want in life, you can have–if you work for it. Mom and dad are working really hard now so we can provide you with the life we want for you, the satisfaction of reaching our goals, and a secure future once you’re off chasing your own dreams. I see women with the kind of careers and family life I’d like and realize that almost all of them have PhD’s. That makes my stomach drop, but I know if I need to, I could do it. And you can work hard for what you want, too, whatever that may be.
There is a world of support all around you, if you look. Grandma is helping put together freezer meals that I didn’t get to before school started. Friends offer encouragement, babysitting and texts with articles related to topics I’m going to study. My boss is willing to adjust my schedule to attend class. You’ve started asking me “How was work, mama?” every day and saying “Good job, I’m proud of you!” The other day Dad got a text from someone back in Washington offering a position at his dream facility and he said, “Sorry, my wife starts grad school here next week.” All of that support means the world to me. Occasionally, there are people who will treat you like your goals don’t matter and try to bring you down. Don’t give them your time. Surround yourself with good people who will remind you that you are worth reaching your dreams.
So here’s the deal: Life is going to get crazy for a few years. I’ll try to not become a crazy person, to involve you as much as I can, and be the best example I can. You two can just keep giving me the best hugs and smiles in the world to remind me why I’m doing this.
I’m always so proud of who you are,