Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Next Chapter Begins...

Fifteen years ago, this picture told the story that was my life. My son was all that mattered to me at that time, and all of my goals in life revolved around giving him the best start in his life I possibly could, and doing whatever I could to make sure he could reach his goals. When I look back on the years that have passed since this picture was taken, I'm stuck by the tremendous difference the life I lived was from the life I always thought I would live. As you guys have all heard before, I never planned the best thing that ever happened to me: the birth of my son. When his existence was first made known to me, I must admit, that I would have done anything in my power to turn that positive test result into a negative test result. I was a "Golden Child", and things always went just as I planned them to go. This wasn't part of the plan. How could this happen to me?

Thankfully, I have always been very responsible as well and even though there were available to me, "other options", I made the best decision I ever made in choosing to have and raise my son alone as a single mother. With that decision came a million other choices that I wasn't even aware I was making simultaneously at the time. Choices as simple as giving up hour-long showers to more complicated choices like delaying educational goals until my personal time commitment to my son's life had diminished. Some of these choices were easy "no-brainers" as they say. Others came with some anguish, and at certain points, even some remorse because as much as I have always loved my son, I like everyone else, also wanted to have what I wanted when I wanted it.

It's now sixteen years since the birth of my son, and a quick peek at my post re:drug testing in high schools (two posts ago) will provide a sneak peek at the fantastic young man he has turned out to be. We have had a great life, and though there were things that may have been delayed, I never truly had to give up anything on behalf of my son, and in actuality I only gained treasures that I otherwise would never have experienced had I not had him in my life.

Ryan is now a sophomore in high school and doing well. He is self-reliant, self-sufficient, and as embarassed as I am to admit this, his social life puts mine to shame ;). In two and a half short years, he will have graduated high school and if the plan he has for his life doesn't change, he'll be off to college in the fall of 2008. This leaves me, the Mom who has been all about her son for the last sixteen years, the perpetual "Golden Child" and planner, thinking, "What's the next chapter include?"

I have decided it [the next chapter] will be all about me! I have enjoyed no other role I have played in life more than I enjoyed being Mom to my son. I pride myself on being an over-achiever, and at being this kid's Mom, I excelled! Now that the "hands-on" part of that job is nearing its close, I have decided to circle back to the focus I had on my development prior to his birth. One of my goals back then was to pursue an advanced degree, and now seems like a great time to do just that.

As a single woman, who would love to be part of a couple, Valentine's Day has the potential to be brutal. Always looking for ways to make a difficult time easier for myself, I decided last year that to prevent the blues that can come on V-day, I would always do something special for myself on this day. Last year, I purchased for myself this very laptop computer which enabled me to start this blog. This year, I completed the application process necessary to begin a dual Masters program in Management and Leadership, and Human Resources Development. I felt like I was walking on air having finally pulled the trigger on this particular starting pistol. I am looking forward to this second chance to be a student as my appreciation for the privelege that is education is so far from the resigned attitude I had as a kid when I believed education was an evil means to an end. Now, the simple thought of learning things I don't know excites me; and though I'm sure a month from now I'll be dog-tired and sick of school, right now I'm psyched!

The timing is perfect because if I'm diligent and dedicated, I will be able to graduate around the same time my son graduates from high school, allowing us both to run around with T-shirts proclaiming us to be 2008 graduates. Additionally, this timing allows for me to enhance my professional credentials which will serve me well as my intention once my son is off to college is to get aggressive about my professional upward mobility in my company. Once my son is off to college, relocation will be an option, and picking up these two degrees should enable me to broaden the opportunities available to me within my corporate structure, and strengthen my bargaining power.

Always, I am open to the possibility of falling in love with some fantastic brotha who will want to be my better (scratch that), other half (and maybe every once in a while he may have to be my other know like when I'm having a bad day--ha!ha!); however, my life is not on hold waiting or hoping for that to happen. If it does, it will probably change the plan a bit, but that's okay as the other time my plans went waaaaaayyyyyy different than what I thought, things turned out fantastically. On the other hand, the plan I have is not plan B, its plan A...proactively conceived, excitedly awaited, and finally about to begin. Can a woman whose life has already been as great as mine has been ask for anything more...I don't think so. The next chapter is NOW, and it' all about ME! I WANT TO BE ME WHEN I GROW UP!!!!!!!!!

(Sharon, August 2004)


Serenity23 said...

This is great Sharon. Now I can see why you can relate to me so well. I was just telling a friend the other day that I thought I wanted to enroll in some graduate classes. Not b/c I am looking for another job, but b/c I need another challenge and I want to enhance my writing craft. He looked at me crazy and said that I already write good enough. I can feel your excitement. I think I too can appreciate education. Now I'm more grounded and realize why I woudl be in a class. Versus back in college, thinking when will this ever end.. Great post and Congratulations!

DJ Diva said...

Go head girl!!!!...I'm enrolling in Grad school in the summer and I'm looking soooo forward to it....I am very happy for you!!!!!

Work it!....Please come by more often...I love your comments!

Sharon said...

@ S23...Thanks for the congrats my sista, and when the time is right, I know you'll go back too! It has really been a pleasure getting to know you!

@ dj diva...Girl you have a light around you so bright I can see it and we haven't even met. You keep workin' it yourself, and know that I stop by your spot everyday whether I post or not. I am learning so much from you, S23, and Ladylee, and having a ball in process, so I'd be a fool not to stop in! You keep coming by here, as its like having one of my cousins drop in ;)

LadyLee said...

Dang, Sharon...

Can I buy a cup of your positivity, enthusiasm, and self-love?

No need to package it up...

Just let me cup my hands together so you can pour it in...(LOL!!)

Doggonit, you make ME want to go back to school, even though I got a Ph.D. already... You make me want to do MORE!!!

But seriously, congrats girl! Go on back to school! And I like your idea of doing something special for yourself on V-Day! I gotta incorporate that!

Loving your blog, Sharon!

***Ladylee clearing throat: Um, You needs to post more often.***

You always pick me up... always got positive thangs to say!! Keep doing what you do!

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited about you getting your graduate degree, Tete! You never cease to amaze me...there really is NOTHING you can't do if you set your mind to it. Love you!