PAINTED BLUE: HOW WORKING and STUDENT PARENTS KEEP GOING

Courtesy of http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vXJIywKzNeM/T5ldlLM3QEI/AAAAAAAAA7E/1PCMrwPNJ-c/s1600/modern-mom.jpg.

I walk into a packed room. My son is at home with his father, grandfather and grandmother.

I have accepted a second job as a graduate assistant, and now begin my three year journey in graduate school.

Courtesy of http://www.usatodayeducate.com/images/crp/300-7-youngmom.jpg

Zac Brown: I ride east every other Friday, but if I had it my way
The day would not be wasted on this drive.
And I want so bad to hold you.
 Son, there’s things I haven’t told you.

I stand back and observe. As in high school, popular girls find pretty popular girls. An intelligent girl, a Purdue graduate, picks me out. She leans down and sees MAT English on my name tag.

Nervous talk about England, her parents – both scientists with a PhD. – and her dreams to become an English professor.

Age?

At least four or five years younger than me. One year out of her undergraduate, she returns to the world of Academia.

Zac Brown: So I’ll drive
And think about my life
And wonder why that I slowly die inside
Every time I turn that truck around right at
the Georgia line and I count the days and the miles
back home to you on that Highway 20 ride.

Five years in the real world turned into ten. Some people say I look younger than I ever did, but I inside I am older than 28.

Two years as a journalist and everything that goes with it, betrayal of college friends, marrying too young and then divorce, a child whose creation divided two families, a love no one approved, and giving up a career I was unfit for …

She dreams of becoming a professor.

Days later, I attend open house at the school where I work, and hurry out to the office where I work as GA. I tell myself I’ve handled deadlines: going from a deadly wreck to a Christmas expo back to the office to call highway patrol officers. Yes, I can handle two part-time positions.

The syllabuses for classes are then presented. Late nights will become a custom.

What is gained?

A degree I want, which will improve the lives of my family members.

The sacrifice?

The most precious time with the one I love most.

Zac Brown: A day might come you’ll realize
That if you see through my eyes
There was no other way to work it out
And a part of you might hate me
But son, please don’t mistake me
For a (mom) that didn’t care at all

In the morning, I am on the road, and by the later half of it I leave for my second job. Classes follow. Late nights, feet dragging, enter the house with more work to do, but I’ve done it before.

This time I have a son in the mix.


Zac Brown: And I drive and I think about my life
And wonder why that I slowly die inside
Every time I turn that truck around
Right at the Georgia line
And I count the days
And the miles back home to you

Every time I write a story, I just write.

Every time I cook, I relax.

TOGETHER, WITH MY SON

Every time I have asked for more hours or received new opportunities, I work for him.

How a working and student parent incorporates his or her child into a daily routine is different. This weekend, I took him to my college where I had to purchase a class packet. He got to eat on the campus, walk … run … around and see all of the people and books.

He has also met me at my job with my parents to eat lunch. It can be done …

Zac Brown: And my whole world
It begins and ends with you

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