A couple of months ago, I helped with adjudication work at a local creative writing specialty center. For two Saturdays, I interviewed prospective students, read their creative writing, and chatted with others writers. And the siren call just screamed at me.
Come and write.
Learn more. Write more.
The will ‘o the wisp enchanted me, implored me to follow it to a local university and enroll in the Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing program.
But, I ran into a couple of obstacles….
You know, those weird reality things.
My son will be graduating from high school in three years. And I have no real money set aside for him to go to college.
I have a full-time job with full-time responsibilities.
Oh, wait, and my daughter. She’s three years younger than my son…and she is bound and determined to go to college as well.
More money that must be invested in the needs of others first.
I want to go back. I want to earn that master’s degree. I want to have the experience of intense workshopping with other writers who are passionate about the written word.
But I know that my children must come first. My family must come first.
And they will.
But I don’t have to sacrifice the integrity of my dreams. The county for which I work will pay for one college course per year. I can still go and start taking creative writing classes. They might not be in the graduate level. They might not be exactly what I want.
Regardless, I will start learning. I will work with other people who are passionate about writing. I won’t be going about achieving my dream the way I want to.
But I also know that I can still do what I want. I just won’t be able to do it as quickly as I want.
Even as I am writing this, though, I am torn. Maybe, i just need to email the faculty and find out how I can balance the juggling act of graduate work with my full-time job with working as a resident faculty member which means that the university would pay for my master’s degree.
I could do something like this. I have taught at a local Strayer University campus up to two nights a week. But it nearly destroyed me. Many sleepless nights, many evenings spent nearly falling asleep behind the wheel, they weren’t worth it. I met some incredible people, at least one of whom is a very good friend to me.
I am a bit saddened. But this is my decision.
For now, I will wait.
On March 15th, the local university will release the information about the fall 2016 course schedule offerings. And I will take the time to contact my county to begin the process of completing the paperwork needed for tuition reimbursement.
And in August, I will follow my recent graduates down the road to the university and I will likely park in the wrong place and possibly get a parking ticket. But, I will go. I will start learning. And, eventually, my son will enroll in a university and then my daughter.
And they will achieve. They will succeed. They will find their dreams unfurling in the palms of their hands and I will cheer when they walk across the graduation stages.
My children will know their mother loves them, will know that their mother wants the best for them. My children will know that my choice to wait is not self-sacrifice, is not me being all that wonderful noble person holding my sob story and my pity-violin.
I will achieve my dream. I will follow through on my greatest dreams. I’m right behind my kids, finding my own stepping stones, walking down my own road that is mine to take. And they are on their own roads, feeling confident in their choices.
They’ll just get to where they need to go a little faster than me. And that’s okay.
I’ve got time.