Rise and Shine!

It’s a September morning like any other – except on this September morning, I’m getting ready for classes. My first day as a university student. Angie is still asleep. I’m grateful that she usually sleeps until about seven. I still need time to gather my thoughts before waking her.

Contemplating my reflection in the mirror, I’m determined to succeed in my academic studies. At twenty-two, I’m a bit late leaving the starting gate. My university status is that of “mature student”. Funny because right now – filled with trepidation and excitement, I don’t feel very mature.

I feel like that little girl starting kindergarten many years ago.

I guess you could say that I took some time off after high school. Much to my mother’s dismay, I was more interested in breaking the rules, counting calories, and testing my boundaries than my future. I had no idea what to do with my life, or in which direction to go. So, I stood at a crossroad, partying and getting into trouble instead.

I wasted two years before realizing that I wanted to become a teacher. I wanted to work with teenagers to have a positive impact and make a difference. My troubled teens having taught me that being a teenager isn’t always easy…

As I look forward to stepping on campus for the first time as an official student, I wonder – yet again – if I have what it takes. I’ve always done well in school, but what if this is different. While I’ve only been out of school for a few years, it feels like a lifetime ago.

And so much has happened since I originally applied to my local university. Most importantly, I discovered that I was going to be a mom. Feeling vulnerable and completely unqualified to take on the responsibility of motherhood, I ran away to my mother’s house.

I boarded a plane and flew to the comfort of my mother’s smile and homemade stew – my appetite having increased tenfold since becoming pregnant.

Eventually, I moved back home and gave birth to my beautiful daughter. We just celebrated her first birthday less than a month ago. I can still see her covered in chocolate cake. It was my first attempt at baking, and it didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped, so we dug our hands in and learned what cake feels like between our fingers, on our faces, in our hair – you get the picture.

My thoughts wandering back to the present, I reassure myself that I’m every bit as capable as all those other university students I’ve seen walking around campus, confident that they belonged. Would I belong there as well? Enough of that. There can be no room for self-doubt. I resigned that luxury on the day my daughter was born.

Angie, my source of motivation and inspiration, is still sleeping in her bedroom. Almost time to wake her. She knows that Mommy’s going to school today. Although I’m not sure how well she grasps the concept. At one, her communication skills mostly center around her basic needs.

I sneak a glance at my outfit. A cotton mustard yellow blouse with a pair of dark red paisley pants, also cotton. For a minute I wish that I could afford something more fashionable to wear. And though I have no idea what is fashionable, I know that I’m not. Ah well, this will have to do.

I’ve never believed in wanting something that I can’t have, so I dismiss any notions of new clothes or fashion. I can barely afford food. Fortunately, I’m not a picky eater – leaving that to my daughter.

My only criteria is that it be cheap. Kraft Dinner and Mr. Noodles fitting that criteria, take first place in my cupboard, once I’ve bought what Angie needs – which reminds me that I should stop at the supermarket after classes. We’re getting low on milk – Angie’s favorite drink beside water.

Walking toward Angie’s bedroom, I notice the sun has broken through the clouds. It’s going to be another warm day. Time to wake my little bundle of energy and curiosity. Time for us to rise and shine.

Smiling down on my daughter’s fragile form, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have her in my life. She is the anchor that keeps me grounded. For my daughter, I can accomplish anything. I will succeed.

Sensing my presence, she begins to stir – her big brown eyes fluttering in protest against the morning sun before finding mine. Good morning sunshine!

©2018 Brenda Baker

This was originally shared on my first blog that I no longer use. I thought I’d share here as it ties in to an earlier post. A letter to My Younger Self

Until next time, be kind to yourself.

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