Exactly five years ago to date, I completed my Masters Degree in Physiological Science from UCLA. I spent five hours running around campus on December 10, 2010 with my first and only at the time, Adara, in a little umbrella stroller retrieving signatures and stamps all to file my thesis. For two years prior to December 10, 2010, I studied upper level graduate courses in Neuroscience learning about Neural Development, fly physiology as a model for human brain deterioration, learning and behavior and conducted my thesis experiment over a course of 24 months intaking data as a paid Staff Research Assistant in a very successful lab at UCLA headed by Dr. Robert Bilder. Looking back now as a mother of three, sitting here typing with two dogs at my feet, a kitchen sink full of dishes, art projects galore and adorned in dirty running clothes, it was all very fancy. Even the title of my thesis was quite fancy: “Impulsivity as a Multidimensional Construct in Smoking Behavior.”
Needless to say, I have not employed proper use of my thesis, long-time study of addiction and impulsivity nor upper level courses in Neurscience and Physiology in the past five years. But how could I? I have been busy raising children. It was a choice, as is everything in life. On December 10, 2010, after filing my thesis and receiving my final stamp of approval to graduate with a Master’s Degree, I stepped out of the workforce and out of the education system.
I was done. I had children to raise, a family to care for and so much to do.
Today, on December 10, 2015, I re-enter the workforce, re-enter the education system. With three kids, plus one additional child I care for 2 days/week, two dogs, a husband starting his own business and a handful of marathon and distance trail races I hope to be competitive in over the next couple of months, I will once again become a “work-outside-the-home plus full time Mama.”
I am thrilled. I am scared, nervous and unsure exactly how all the pieces will fit together, but I know they will. Long hours are ahead. It may mean running at 4am or 8pm, more squeezing, more maneuvering. I am already fatigued and exhausted, but that’s okay. I’m happy and my heart is full.
After winter break, I will begin teaching preschool at the local nursery school in which my own children attend. We have been there since Adara was 1 and began Mommy & Me in January of 2010. It is such a loving, nurturing place full of well-educated, intelligent and inspiring teachers, mothers, fathers, families and staff. And that is why I ultimately decided to re-enter the work force.
Nearly two weeks ago, horrific events filled our newsfeed and our country as yet another shooting occurred. This one hit closer to home. It occurred closer to home — in San Bernadino County, just miles from where I attended college. That evening, as my heart wept for the victims, the families involved and for all the children growing up in a world where shootings were becoming commonplace, I find myself asking, “What can I do?” “How can I make this world a better place?” Just then, a friend sent me this:
This, I can do this. I was moved, inspired. In that moment, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I can love, I can share that love with my own family but still I can do more and I feel called to do more — I can share it with children as a teacher.
As our Pastor said at church this past Sunday, “It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to fail a child.” Let us not be that village. My children and myself have been so blessed to be surrounded by loving, caring people who support and inspire them to do more, to give more. Now it is my time to give more, to teach and love more children, to spread the message that we are all special, important and loved.
Wish me luck — I’ll need it! : )