Friday, March 22, 2013

Letters to My Children - March 2013

This letter, my dear children, is a story, an apology, and a thank you note, all rolled up into one.

Across the course of our lives, we have to make various difficult choices.  There are always a variety of reasons, limitations, circumstances; and this is no different.  I had to make a choice.  Did I want it? Or did I want to give up? 

Am I headed in the right direction?
It was strongly suggested that I take the PE (Professional Engineer) exam for work.  I didn't want to.  I drug my feet.  I kicked the dirt.  I thought it was dumb for a Chemical Engineer to have to do what Civil Engineers do.   I thought it was dumb that I had to learn for the first time Civil fundamentals which I explicitly did NOT want to study in college.  I despised the fact I was supposed to master concepts like Momentum and Reactions and Trusses and such.  Most of all, I didn't want to divert what little energy I had away from you both and Dad.  But, that's what they wanted me to do, so with a lot of preparation in the first quarter of 2012 I begrudgingly did it.

And in June, I found out I failed.

I was angry.  I was upset.  I was so disappointed in myself.  I didn't know if I wanted to go through that grueling 8 hour piece of hell (in addition to the 250+ hours of preparation) again.  But in hindsight, I realized I spent so much energy fighting the fact that I didn't want to take the exam, that I didn't leave much on the table available for actually succeeding in taking it.

Not the happiest camper....

So I made another big decision. I wanted to show you, my sweet boy and girl, that even though life is difficult, and some tasks appear to be insurmountable, that if you believe in yourself and give yourself a little focus you can achieve great things.  Even if (or especially if) you've failed before.  I chose to plow through the swamp of preparation and forge ahead.  It meant temporarily but actively shifting the focus away from my most important and most precious family.

I still harbor some pretty strong guilt about doing this.  Why?  Well, when Dad isn't travelling, I quickly eat dinner and am downstairs at 6PM to work problems or watch one of the online classes (which you both like to peek in and see "the guy in the computer").  On weekends, I'm off in the morning to study at Panera (since the library isn't open too early) and come home late in the afternoon.  When I do come home, I'm exhausted  and generally not much fun to be around.  I don't have a lot of extra energy to put into meal planning or cooking, and that means we're all not eating as well as I would like, and forget about housecleaning.......  I'm leaning a lot on Dad to help carry the load, and although he is more than happy to support me through this mess (since he's been there himself, 10 years ago) sometimes that makes him not in the greatest of moods either.

When Dad is travelling, I don't sleep very well.  Which means I'm short tempered, angry, tired and upset that I'm tired and angry and upset. I'm left with not much energy to be a good mom, let alone to study.  Which again, makes me generally not much fun to be around.  I see you, Liam, walking on eggshells doing your best not to make me upset, or rushing to help Lola put toys away.  I see that look in your eyes - searching my face to see if I'm going to explode or yell or cry from being at the end of my rope.  And it breaks my heart.  But then, you'll ask after a hard day of studying, "Mom! Did you learn lots of things so you can get all the questions right?"  My answer is always the same, "Well, I'm sure trying my hardest, and I will do the best I can.  But yes, I think I will get them all right."  Liam, you make me believe in ME!

I'm trying so hard to let go of the guilt, to let it be OK that I want this PE. SO BAD.  To let it be OK to lean on you, my family, to support me in my crazy endeavors.  Even though I am paralyzed with fear that I might fail again, I want to be strong enough to admit to you both and to Dad that I want to be smart enough, to prove myself, to equalize my playing field at work.  But it is so, so hard.

Liam and Lola, I am so so sorry to drag you all through this.  But it is only temporary.....

Waving goodbye to the bumpy, prickly road, and looking forward to happiness!

One more month, and I'll be free again.   I can't say that I will get to make it all up to you.  Chances are, I'll just collapse in a big  heap of goo, and hopefully be able to gain back some resemblance of normalcy in a reasonable amount of time.  I'll probably still be short tempered and irritable at times....but I will be so so thankful that you all supported me when some days even I didn't think I could do it myself.

We'll be OK as long as we have each other.

 I'm sorry.  Thank you.  And I love you both, so very much.


Follow our Letters to Our Children Blog Circle over to David Villano!


Jes Gwozdz said...

Karin, I have so much admiration for you for taking this challenge on while working full time and being a mom to two young kids. You totally rock and your kids and hubby know it. xoxo

Jen Davis said...

Its a wonderful thing you are doing for your family, in the long run. I'm sure they will see that you persevered even though it was hard. Great post.

Jamie said...

You are an amazing mom and never doubt that! Beautiful post.

tanya karaman said...

Sometimes the hardest things we have to do involve taking the focus temporarily away from the ones we that we can give them so much more in the end. Best wishes!!

Janelle said...

I love you.

Lauren said...

Karin, this is a beautiful letter. I love your honesty, openness and raw emotions. Even though it is hard right now, you are teaching your kids so much- to work hard, even when you fail and to lean on others. None of us can do it alone. Best of luck on your exam! You rock girl!

Anonymous said...


I don't know you very well but I'am amazed by you and all you do.

Buena Suerte.


Stacy Loveridge said...

Karin you are such an amazing mother! I know what you mean about feeling guilty, but we gotta do what we gotta do, because in the long run it pays off for our families.

Tinarr said...

Love you, you are amazing at all you do!

CreativeM Photo Blog said...

You kids will hardly remember this time later in their lives, I know because I was as single mom who worked full-time and went to school full-time. You are going to pass and you will be better for having the courage to get up, and try. That is the lesson I hope you tell and remind your kids. When you fail, you can try, try again.

Joni said...

Karin- don't you ever think that you are not giving your family enough. Sometimes you might not feel like you're there for them but you are teaching them many life lessons through your actions. Those kids are going to grow into strong, brave, confident and beautiful adults because of your love and commitment.