Just Heather

…I’ve spent the last 11 years as a stay-at-home mom, adding kidlets along the way. Going back to school was always on the radar (and, of course, made the 40×40“>official list) but I didn’t have a timeline and it wasn’t on my radar. Then, my business began to grow, and I frequently wished I knew more about managing it. An MBA was out of the question since I didn’t even have an undergraduate degree.

At one point, I looked into a business major but I would have been practically starting over after my previous 4 majors. I really didn’t have the motivation to start college as a freshman. It all seemed so pointless to me but I was determined to make it happen eventually, even if just to prove to my dad that I could. Then, a simple, passing conversation changed everything.

My parents were upset that my cousin didn’t invite people to her December ceremony. Dad commented that none of his kids had made it so this was a huge deal to him and they would absolutely have been there—even with Christmas days away. She turned to me in shock and said, “You never graduated? Didn’t you go to Ball State forever?” Let’s see…4 full years, as a matter of fact—including summers. They kind of don’t like to give you a degree, though, when you skip around and drop majors all the time.

That’s when she asked why I couldn’t just get a General Studies degree to be done with it. Huh…never occurred to me. It really got my wheels turning, and I contacted my former advisor at Ball State to see how that worked. She told me I was completely finished minus 1 core science course but I needed a few extra hours plus a BGS requires 2 minors. She turned my El Ed work into 1 minor, and gave me a list of all the minors offered completely online.

To make my decision even easier, she also highlighted 2 minors for which some of my other classes already qualified! I picked Psychology of Human Behavior—mostly because it required less classes but partly because understanding that can only be helpful to a parent. I would later find out that I took so many education classes I didn’t need the minor anyway. One “major emphasis” would count so I was able to stop with the horrid science classes to complete my last few hours of coursework with the business class I would actually use.

For two years, I have completed classes (mostly online), written papers, taken tests and had real &amp actual homework! It was a lot of work, and my family deserves all the credit! The school stuff was actually quite easy—it was just time-consuming enough to take me away from cooking, cleaning and managing things at home. (Not that I was ever good at those to begin with.) Spencer picked up a ton of slack, our marriage suffered (though this was certainly not our only issue) and the Mommy Guilt was frequently overwhelming.

Through the success of our alphabet dating project, the magic of a meteor shower and a lot of hard work, we are happier than ever. The Mommy Guilt, I’m sure, is here to stay. However, I am pleased to announce after 14 years, 10 moves, 8 towns, 5 majors and 3 kids, I am an official college graduate!


Alternate Title: How a meteor saved my marriage.

Okay, so this Perseid thing comes along every August. I am 32 years old and had never seen it. That’s why it went on 40×40“>the official list. I hadn’t made a specific plan to watch it this year, although having it on my list did put it on my radar. I was paying attention to the dates and the optimal viewing time was middle of the night the evening before Blog Indiana. I didn’t think that was wise.

Then, instead of going to bed early so I’d be well rested for my conference, I stayed up late fighting with my husband. I’ve made no secret of our ongoing struggles. They’ve come to a head in huge blowups a couple of times in the last few years, and this one was bad. As in packing my suitcase bad. Then, I read this and cried. Buckets. But it wasn’t enough to make me go back into the house. Pride, probably. Fear, a lot.

I was standing outside thinking about how many times we’ve had the same fight. Wondering how we could co-parent separately if we couldn’t even co-parent together. Trying to figure out how to make it on my own. Contemplating how you can love someone so very much and still not be able to find a way to live together. Something in the sky caught my eye, but as I’ve never seen a meteor shower I didn’t really know what it would look like or what to expect.

As I was looking up, a huge meteor, as in movie effects huge, streaked across the sky. I was doing it—I was crossing off another one! That’s when the tears started. I wanted to tell someone that I had just moved another step closer to 40×40 and he wasn’t there. I didn’t stop to think; I just tore back into the house with tears streaming down my face to tell him I was watching it and he should go watch it too.

He joined me in the front yard to see the meteor shower, but then he grabbed my hand and tugged me to the backyard for the better view. And never let go. We quietly enjoyed the show for a bit, until Spencer went back into the house for a blanket so we could lie down. We watched for a couple hours, actually, and started talking. I realized our life, our marriage is kind of like that meteor shower.

It has its darkness. It has bright beauty. And just when you think it’s over, something spectacular happens. And, just like Perseid, we’ll be celebrating every August. Our latest Alphabet Dating adventure occurred just a few weeks ago for our 12th anniversary. We’re in this together, for life; we just have a few things to figure out along the way.