January to April was consumed with my second semester of library school. We took those months day by day, assignment by assignment, play date by play date, daycare drop off by daycare drop off, pumping session by pumping session. In comparison to my first semester, that term of classes had felt so much easier. I was gentler on myself, I think, recognizing that I wasn’t going to be the student I had once been, and forgiving myself for it. Isabel and I had figured out our normal and I finished that semester excited for 5 months of time with my daughter before school would start up again.
I hardly remember those five summer months anymore. I know we celebrated her birthday in there somewhere, and I spent time training for my first half marathon. I know we spent sunny days in the backyard and at the park. We had play dates and made good friends. We had a good summer – don’t get me wrong. I would like to say I cherished and savoured each day. Instead, I learned the hard way that staying at home full time is chalk full of its own challenges. Just as I figured them out, my 5 months of stay-at-home motherhood came to an end and I jumped headlong into the hardest semester so far. Four months distant from those summer days, I hardly remember them, but for the few times I pulled out my camera to snap pictures of my growing baby.
My second year of my Masters of Library Science began in September. It’s different this year. When I started the program, Isabel was 2 months old. She didn’t start to crawl until I was nearly finished my second semester. She was easy: plop her on a play mat surrounded by toys while researching for my assignments, nurse until she fell asleep while doing the readings for class, wrangle her into a carrier and bounce while writing an essay. These days, she’s far more active, and in September, at 15 months, she hadn’t even begun to learn how to play independently. I worked during nap time, but my saving grace was one day of daycare when I didn’t have class, a day to research, write, and edit. Regardless, the semester was hard, and I regularly found myself overwhelmingly disappointed, working away important weekends, missing Isabel, missing Mark, losing myself in the depths of those assignments.
But, the semester ended. As far as I know, I did just fine, though I won’t get my marks back for a few more days. One more semester ahead. I’m not looking forward to it, but it’s just four months. I can do this. Once I finish school, 2016 will bring with it its own challenges. Will I be able to find a job? How will growing our family fit into this? Will I have struggled through my masters for nothing? We’ll see.
Happy New Year, world.
(Give credit where credit is due: the photo on the top left was taken by the incredibly talented Emily Jane Watson. If you’re in the Toronto area, you should definitely give her a call for some family photos.)