Back to School

Having passed his colicky newborn stage, Zachary was growing quickly into a happy baby who ate well, traveled well and lit up everyone who came by with his toothless smiles.  Friends slowly came home from college that year for the holidays, and while I felt a pang when they talked to me about their fun times going to bars and what they were studying, I let it go as they smiled and cooed at my son.   I’d made the right choice, even if it wasn’t the easy one.

I was, in fact, getting ready to go back to school myself.  I’d been admitted without incident to Wayne State, and most of the credits I’d taken during my freshman year transferred without an issue.  Of course, the full scholarship that I’d turned down the year before was no longer available.  It was going to cost us nearly as much to go to school at Wayne as it had at MSU, minus the room and board.  I was going to start back just two days a week, but twelve hour days.  Our former neighbor, who ran an in home day care, was going to watch Zachary for me while I went.  I’d drive down with my mother in the mornings and home with her in the evenings, since the campus was just a few miles away from her work downtown.

I was ready to get back to work academically.  I loved school; always had.  That was why I’d decided to become a teacher in the first place.  I loved learning, loved moving forward.  I wanted to be the teacher like the teachers I admired and relied on.

My counselor and I plotted out my coursework from now until graduation.  If I went to school in the summers, I’d be able to graduate right on time, as if I’d never taken any time off.  That was my goal.  My mother had said that she would help me out with school and daycare as long as I graduated within four years.  My father agreed and offered to give me book money and pay for some of Zachary’s things as long as I met my mother’s terms.  I wanted to do them one better and get it done in three.  I wanted to prove to everyone who’d told me that my life was over and ruined that I could make it work, that I could graduate with all of my peers.  I was determined.

It was the winter of 1990.


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