Where Was I 10 Years Ago?

Next month I’ll be attending the 10th annual BlogHer conference in San Jose, and organizers have asked an interesting question of the blogosphere: Where Were You 10 Years Ago?

Where Were You 10 Years Ago sm

10 years ago we were living in a cute little townhouse with a cute little yard, directly across the street from our children’s elementary school. I was working the grave shift at the front desk of a local hotel, and we had four kids: Hannah was 10, Maddy was 7, Abby was about to turn 6, and Isaac was just 3. We were a young couple, with young kids, hardly able to pay our bills, but happy in a mess of life.

kids in 2004

Sorry for the poor photo quality! Digital cameras in 2004 weren’t nearly as sophisticated as they are today!

I remember clearly the night I realized I needed a change. I was trying to get some rest before work, and it hit me so powerfully that working a part-time grave shift job and struggling to make ends meet was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. What did I want to do? I wanted to go back to school.

I was in my second year of college when my husband and I met and married. We had children right away, and over the next many years, my life was a see-saw of college classes and raising babies. When my husband graduated college in 1999, I took a “break” from school that ended up lasting five years. After all that time, though, finishing college was still something I wanted to achieve for myself.

I took the chance during my quiet grave shifts at work to research the process of re-applying to college – in my case, Oregon State University. The only problem was that I now lived three hours away from OSU, and applying and transferring credits to a Portland college seemed overwhelming. To my delight, I discovered a dual enrollment option to take a mix of online classes through OSU and on campus classes through Portland Community College; after one year of full-time studies, I could finally earn my Bachelor’s degree.

What I love most about this story is that my husband didn’t even blink when I told him my crazy plan. He never asked how we would manage it financially or with the kids, he never wondered how I would get all my schoolwork done. I was going to be a 30-year old mom of 4 heading back to college, and my husband never expressed anything but confidence in me. I can’t tell you how much that meant.

10 years ago this summer was an exciting time for me – one of the few times in my life when a goal was so clear and present in my mind that nothing could possibly stop me. I’m excited for that optimistic young mom, and proud of her. Because if she could see the future, she’d see herself walking her college commencement a year later – graduating with honors while her husband and family watched. 10 years ago I was on the edge of a marvelous experience, one that has absolutely made me the person I am today.

college graduation

What about you? Where were you 10 years ago?