Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I have a lot of decisions to make in life. Every day is full of them. Some presenting themselves fresh that day, others leftover from days and weeks and months, even years past, still lingering, still pressing on my mind.

It's sometimes hard for me to make decisions.

I fear I have passed this indecisiveness on to my daughter. She likes my help in making many decisions: "Should I get this color brown eyeliner, or this color brown eyeliner?" "Should I get this toy for Conor, or these puzzles?"

Usually I steer her to decide for herself, to just go with what feels right, and she'll take the plunge with boosted confidence in herself.

Sometimes, though, in my life, more than one thing feels right. And then I'm stuck. I pray and pray, but the heavens just seem to answer, "Decide for yourself. Go with what feels right."

I don't like those kind of answers at all.

But I recently took the plunge with one of my lingering decisions regarding this next semester of school. I have a handful of classes left to take before I can apply for admission into the nursing program. Three of those classes are lab science classes (read hard, very hard, and very long classes). That would mean at least three semesters of classes, to fit in a lab science each time, along with another straggling prerequisite.

But getting into college classes these days is extremely competitive. Because of the economy, people of all ages and former occupations are flooding college and university campuses trying to up their edge and gain some advantage in this craziness. There are many more students than there are classes and teachers, at least around here, so it's basically a first-come, first-served operation. And first-come is based on your length of enrollment at the school. Each student, or group of students is given a day on which they can register for their upcoming classes. My day for registration comes several weeks after the day that longer-time students get to sign up, so the pickings are slim. This time, every single non-science course that I still need was filled and closed. Every one. Very discouraging, because I'd hoped to take a science and an "easy" class.

Microbiology had a wait list of 2, but I was permitted to enroll, and I did. The downside of Micro is that the only section of the class left with room was going to be four days a week. Monday and Wednesday for lecture, and Tuesday and Thursday for lab. That's a lot of driving back and forth to Pasadena, and it's a lot of arranging care for Conor, and it's a lot of busyness and chaos in an already busy and chaotic life. But I need that class, and I didn't really have much to choose from.

And then, looking around, I saw that Anatomy and Physiology A had 5 openings, and I wondered, "Do I dare?" It was listed as a hybrid course, with the lecture part being conducted online and the lab portion occurring on campus once a week. I figured that I had to teach myself Chemistry last semester, and that I was fairly competent with self-instruction, so I emailed the professor to ask what she thought. (See? I can't make decisions!) She agreed that two lab science courses would be a tall order, but she encouraged me to just 'go for it'.

Five days a week.

It has weighed on me. Even in the most ideal of circumstances, that is a lot of sacrificing for a family to have Mom obligated to that extent. I realize I am a woman of extremes. When I do something, I love to do it all the way, and this school venture has been no exception. It's as if I think, "If I'm gonna do it, then let's do it!"

But a voice has whispered that the sacrifice this particular semester may be too great. The price not really a bargain, even though it would mean shortening my schooling by a semester. Other things need my attention, and those things are worth far, far more.

My children, mainly. I have teens. I have a preschooler. I have an in-between. They grow so quickly and I don't really want to be completely absorbed past observation so that I miss a semester of their lives. And a few of them, I've come to learn, need a little more supervision--er, um, I mean--attention. I can't get back time with them. They need me, and I want to be present and available for them.

I have my piano business, my church calling, my duties in our home, and really it began to seem selfish to me to squish everything into the corner in an attempt to save a semester. Besides that, how much fun would I be to live with, being stretched so thinly? Not much, I am guessing, and there's no way Microbiology is going to screw up my Christmas spirit.

So, I prayed about it. ("Heavenly Father, I think I may have gone zealously overboard. Maybe it isn't so important that I take both science classes this semester. Maybe it is more important that I be present in my current life and for my children than building up my future life at the expense of my family? This is what I feel You whispering. I think I'm going to drop Microbiology. Please let me know if this is the right decision.")

It feels like the right thing to do. I have always promised myself that during my season of mothering at home, I will be available. Nothing is as important to me as raising these children with whom I've been entrusted, and often that has meant putting other interests and pursuits aside for a time. My own mother reminds me that there will come a day when I will have time for everything else. School is important, and it is the right thing for me to be working on. I am so grateful to be doing so. But it isn't worth pushing other important things to the side to plow through at breakneck speed. So, I'm dropping Microbiology. It will be there in the Spring (don't I know it!), and maybe the Spring will be more of a time for crunching. For now, I'll keep moving forward, and focus on Anatomy and Physiology.

And Adam, Lyndsay, Dylan, Aiden, Conor, Caitlin, and Sean.

Ah, peace.

One decision down. Several hundred more to go.


Julie Wright said...

I have your same problem and am in the midst of many life altering decisions. I hate it when the answer is "just do what feels best" Thanks for a great post6 and good luck!

Anonymous said...

Such familiar feelings. Well expressed, and I love your thought process.

Annette Lyon said...

What a great post. I think so many of us can relate to several aspects of it. You're making GOOD decisions.

But yes, I HATE it when the answer is, "You decide."

YogaNana said...

Never let anything interfere with your Christmas spirit! :o)

I think you're going to love your Anatomy class. Progress on your goal and enjoyment, all in one package!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I just have to say - I'm so proud of you. Truly.

Trapped and Screaming said...

I am so like you. I hate making decisions. But my problem is that I am also a planner. So I stress to make the decision soon enough that I can adequately plan for it. Drives my husband nuts. . .

Misty said...

I too am like you. Decisions are tough... but it's obviously you aren't being rash and you are weighing every aspect of these choices. That's sometimes everything, right there...

* said...

You are one sweet mama. Love your commitment on being available. Just because kids get older, doesn't mean they need us mamas less, right?

I like the last line of this post. One decision down, several more hundred to go. {sigh}