To My Pre-K Graduate

To My Pre-K Graduate

Millie, my shining star, amaze me every. single. day. I remember receiving a card for my college graduation, from my grandmother, about stars. She told me how amazing she thought I was and that I was “a star amongst the stars”. I’ll be honest – my own self doubt, mean things people had said about me in the past, my anxiety about what was to come, never allowed me to let her words sink in. Here I am today, telling you how amazing I think you are, my shining star, a beacon of light in this crazy world, and I pray that you realize your worth. Your immense possibilities. Your chance to make every day, new. My grandma thought these things of me and my angel, she and everyone else that knows you thinks them of you.

You know that neither me or your dad went to pre-k? We had no idea how much you’d learn this school year. You blew me away with your knowledge of the Bible stories (the first time you said Israelites with your little voice, my heart melted). Your teachers love you. Goodness, I’m so incredibly proud of the work you’ve done this year and the person you are becoming.

A message from your Daddy: Mia, I want you to know that I am so proud of the little girl you’ve grown to be. You constantly surprise me with how much you’ve learned and how giving and social you are. You are always trying to help make sure that everyone around you is having just as much fun as you, whether it’s helping your dance classmates to get in line for an activity, reading your new book over and over again with everyone in the room, or practicing new jokes with me to make sure you can make the next person laugh. I love to see that your priority is always to bring joy to the people around you.

Every day that I picked you up from preschool this year, I just waited for that first moment that you see me pulling up. Because the smile that lights up your face when the door opens means the world to me. I hope that is the first reaction you get from seeing me forever, because I will always want to bring joy in your life.

I am so excited for you to start the next step in growing up, and I know you’re ready for it. You are going to love school, and I can’t wait to see how much you continue to grow and learn. As I’m writing this the morning of your graduation, you just came charging out of your room and yelled “today is the day!” Every single day you wake up with that same excitement to tackle new things. I’ll always be there cheering for you the whole way.

Happy Graduation Day, Millie Moo!

Masters in Motherhood

Masters in Motherhood

It was always my plan to obtain my masters degree before getting pregnant however, my hormones had a different agenda. I work best under pressure, which is why I stay busy, but after listening to the advice of my husband and my counselor, I decided to take a semester off after Millie was born. Millie was due in mid-December, the week after my fall semester finals, but due to preeclampsia, Millie arrived ahead of schedule, in early November; I still had four weeks remaining in my courses. Given the situation, my professors were completely understanding and they were lenient on due dates. During the first four weeks of classes, I completed many assignments ahead of time; perk of being a workaholic, and that helped a lot, too.

I quickly learned how to pump and type, simultaneously. Sleeping when the baby slept wasn’t a thing; while she slept, I did homework. I hate that her first month of life is such a blur in my memories. I wish I could’ve been more alert and aware but I was recovering and dog-tired. Thankfully, there were many pictures and videos taken during that time, and I indulge in them often.

I had almost gotten accustomed to my work load of sheer exhaustion when winter break began. Taking the spring semester off put me behind on my degree completion plan and looking back now, I wish I could’ve powered through. (The quicker I complete my degree, the sooner the repayment period begins for my loans, and the quicker my loans are forgiven.)

“May your college memories last as long as your student loan debt.” – a wise and financially broke man who attended college

I am very fortunate to be on a student loan forgiveness plan through the US government. I went to an expensive, private, music conservatory for my bachelors degree and I racked up undergraduate debt. I am five courses away from completing my masters degree from another expensive, private university and I tacked on graduate school debt. If I work ten years in public service (teach) while making my minimum, monthly student loan payments (120 payments in total) all the rest of my debt gets forgiven. Hallelujah!

Before I had Millie, teaching music was my life’s success and now, my whole life is Millie. She’s everything to me. Sometimes I wish I never went to college because I wouldn’t be in college debt and I would be able to stay home and raise my baby. Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching music, I just feel guilty about teaching other people’s children during the day and not being there for my own. My grandma went into retirement and watches Millie at our house while my husband and I work; I am so grateful for her help and that we do not have to put her in childcare. I know that I am setting a good example for my daughter by working and continuing my education however, my heart aches every time I walk out the door.

I will be graduating with a Masters of Art degree in music and worship, in ten months. Typing that makes me smile. That will put me on a higher pay scale at work and it will free up more of my time to spend with Millie. I’m proud to be completing this journey with a baby on my lap – today, she pounded on my keyboard and erased a good amount of my book report. Millie will know that her mom valued higher education and working women. I pray that my perseverance will inspire her.

– now onto that book report that’s due by midnight.