Rise and Shine!


alarmclock silhouette at sunrise cityscape

It’s a September morning like any other-except on this September morning-I’m getting ready for classes. My first day as a university student. Angie is still asleep. I’m grateful that she usually sleeps until about seven. I still need time to gather my thoughts before waking her.

Contemplating my reflection in the mirror, I’m determined to succeed in my academic studies. At twenty-one, I’m a bit late leaving the starting gate. My university status is that of “mature student”. Funny because right now, filled with trepidation and excitement, I don’t feel very mature.

I feel like that little girl starting kindergarten sixteen years ago.

I guess you could say that I took some time off after high school. Much to my mother’s dismay, I was more interested in breaking the rules and testing my boundaries than my future. I had no idea what to do with my life or in which direction to go. I stood at a crossroad, partying and getting into trouble instead.

I wasted two years before realizing that I wanted to become a teacher. I wanted to work with teenagers, to have a positive impact and to make a difference. My troubled teens teaching me that being a teenager isn’t always easy…

As I look forward to stepping on campus for the first time as an official student, I wonder-yet again-if I have what it takes. I’ve always done well in school, but what if this is different. While I’ve only been out of school for a  few years, it feels like much longer.

So much has happened since I originally applied to my local university. Most importantly, I discovered that I was going to be a mom. Feeling vulnerable, and completely unqualified to take on the responsibility of motherhood, I ran away to my mother’s house.

I boarded a plane and flew to the comfort of my mother’s smile and homemade stew. My appetite had increased substantially since becoming pregnant.

Eventually, I moved back home and gave birth to my beautiful daughter. We just celebrated her first birthday a month ago. I can still see her covered in chocolate cake. It was my first attempt at baking which didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped, so we both dug our hands in and learned what cake feels like between our fingers, on our faces, in our hair-you get the picture.

My thoughts wandering back to the present, I reassure myself that I’m every bit as capable as all those other university students I’ve seen walking around campus, confident that they belonged. Would I belong there as well? -Enough of that. There can be no room for self-doubt. I resigned that luxury on the day that my daughter was born.

Angie, my source of motivation and inspiration, is still sleeping in her bedroom. Almost time to wake her. She knows that Mommy’s going to school today. I’m not sure how well she grasped the concept. At one, her communication skills still center around her basic needs.

I sneak a glance at my outfit. A cotton mustard yellow blouse with a pair of dark red paisley pants, also cotton. For a minute I wish that I could afford something more fashionable to wear. Although I have no idea what is fashionable, I know that I’m not. Ah well, this will have to do.

I’ve never believed in wanting something that I can’t have, so I dismiss any notions of new clothing or fashion. I can barely afford food. Fortunately, I’m not a picky eater, leaving that to my daughter.

My only criteria is that it must be cheap. Kraft Dinner and Mr.Noodles fitting that criteria, take first place in my cupboard, once I’ve bought what Angie needs-which reminds me that I should stop at the supermarket after classes. We’re getting low on milk. Angie’s favorite drink beside water.

Walking toward Angie’s bedroom, I notice the sun has broken through the clouds. It’s going to be another warm day. Time to wake my little bundle of energy and curiosity. Time for us to rise and shine.

Smiling down on my daughter’s fragile form, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have her beautiful smile in my life. She is my anchor, keeping me grounded. For my daughter, I can accomplish anything. I will succeed.

Sensing my presence perhaps, she begins to stir, eyes fluttering in protest against the morning sun. Her big brown eyes find mine. Good morning sunshine!

©2016 Brenda Baker

Writer’s note: I shared this a little while ago but then I unpublished it. It’s difficult for me to share my story. As you know it takes courage to share our personal stories. However the very kind words and encouragement from another blogger have given me the courage to republish. I plan to leave it this time. This short blog looks at my first morning as a university student, marking the first morning of the rest of my life.

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