In my two years at MATC, I worked hard. It was fulfilling and occasionally frustrating. Last year, I worked less hard. I had to or my husband or I or both of us would likely not be alive right now. It was a little disappointing to put some slack in the rope, but life is more important than perfect grades and perfect newspapers.
I wrote this last year:
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
A quick word from Amy Knapp
“Kelsey wants you to say goodnight,” Eric said when I walked in the door.
“She’s still awake?” I asked. It was late.
I set my backpack on the kitchen floor and laid my coat on top of it.
“Welcome home, love.”
My husband held me a moment and sent me to our waiting 7-year-old. Her 12-year-old sister was already sleeping.
I made my way down the dark hall and slipped into my daughter’s room.
Sitting up in bed, she said, “Hi, Mom.”
“Hi, babe,” I answered. “How come you’re still awake?”
“Why did you get home so late?” she asked, blinking and wrapping her warm arms around my waist.
“I had a lot of work,” I said.
I took a deep breath, smelling her sleepy scent mingled with cheap shampoo.
She slid her hands into mine as I sat on the bed. “I wish you didn’t have to work so much,” she said, and I bowed my head in guilt. “I wish you were home like you used to be.”
I held her soft, sad face in my hands for a moment. She closed her eyes and reclined onto her pillow again.
“I know it’s hard,” I whispered. “I don’t like it, either, honey. But it won’t be like this for much longer.”
I kissed her forehead and rose from her bed.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too, babe.”
I looked at this little child who needed her mom to give her a kiss before she could fall asleep and silently pleaded with myself to honor the sacrifices my family was making so I could finish school.
“Goodnight, hon,” I said.
“Goodnight,” Kelsey answered.
Here’s to all the moms and dads and everyone else striving to balance a family and school and work. It’s hard, but it’s worth the effort, and so are you.
I will be damned if I go through that shit again. Today, despite having hard-working, intelligent classmates at the U, I spent my time kicking a soccer ball around the back yard, holding our dying rat, pointing out weeds to Kelsey (where aren't there weeds?), searching for a penny made the year I was born, and doing some homework. I did not spend the day doing homework, more homework, further homework, writing stories for the paper, researching facts for those stories for the paper, or attending a church service to write a pseudo-news story (free ad disguised as a news story--unless I did that research to turn it into news). When the thunder started, I was lying in bed, holding my sleepy child, who turned toward me and found my head just to be sure I was there, keeping her safe from the thunder. I wasn't just getting home.
I would have gone to the church service, but Eric was so frazzled, I didn't even bring it up. He did wonder why I was so nicely dressed, however.
And now, I'm about to be nicely undressed. Goodnight.