26 seems so weird. When i got accepted into the nursing program, I remember thinking that when I accomplished my goal of becoming a nurse I would have just turned 26. 26. I feel a little behind, it seems a lot of 26 year olds went to college and graduated years ago. Yet, I am only 26, and I still have a lot to look forward to.
The day my mom turned 26, her divorce from my dad was finalized, and it was her first day in college. (i guess I am not really behind :) She had 2 little girls, My big sister and me, and we were both July babies (just like my 2 kids). We were 7 and 5. I cannot imagine doing it alone. Thankfully we weren't totally alone, we had a lot of people, one of them being Patty, one of my mom's really good friends who would babysit us all the time. She was awesome! I would walk to her house after Kindergarten, I remember on the first day I had to walk to her house not remembering where to go. Her house was like 4 blocks away from the school, in a straight line. My mom showed me a few times exactly how to get there. My teacher kept asking me "Is someone coming to get you?" and finally I was like "I remember where to go!" Surprise, I got myself there just fine. Patti's house was full of exciting things like playing "War" in her basement. We would set up 2 bases on either side of the long living room, and throw toys at each other. The game was more fun when we decided to throw out all of the hard plastic toys! ;) We would ride a mattress down the stairs... laugh and laugh, pull it back up and go again. We had a lot of family home evenings with her family, and spent a lot of time with them. She had a backyard with a playhouse and a swingset. We spent many days out there, one I will never forget because Patti's oldest Trevor and I (who were great friends) were out there, and he was pulling the legs off of grasshoppers. Nasty! There are things about these days I miss. The simplicity of childhood, even in a life where things weren't always simple.
Another thing we had was a Dad that paid his child support. That was enough money to pay for our apartment, and utilities. We relied on food stamps, and the "Extra" money my mom got from her grant money for school went to buying clothes (often at the DI) and a few treats. Like going out to eat at Del Sol, a little Mexican Restaurant in Logan. We always loved the start of a semester because we weren't broke as a joke. ;) We frequently ate little caesar's pizza, with which my Mom began her true addiction to Diet Coke! I remember our little apartment getting flooded somehow... I don't remember exactly how (it seems like the water heater leaked or something), but I do remember my mom going to pick out the new carpet (the landlord let her decide what to get) and she picked pink. We had the cutest girl apartment, EVER! She decorated out of Garage Sales and DI stuff. We had everything we needed. She even put wall paper in our bedroom that was pink and blue hearts, with a border. We even had her at home frequently, which was why she wanted to go to school. To live poor so that she could be home with us as much as possible. She graduated when I was 11, (in 1996) with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Physiology. I remember feeling so proud of her. So excited for her achievement. We moved to Rigby when I was stating 9th grade (July of 1999) She went back to school to be a nurse when I was in High School, and graduated in 2002 when I was a junior. That was nice. It seemed like for the first time we actually had some extra money! I was also very proud of her for this accomplishment. I really wish I could work with her now, so she could help me learn how to really be a nurse in the real world. No more of this school "theory" crap! ;)
Also on the subject of 26, I believe my dad was 26 (or almost) when he went back to school. We were all slow learners, I guess. Especially considering my entire life my parents hounded me about going to school, and professing of it's importance. Surprise! I still had to learn on my own why, and when, and how much I wanted it. I always knew I wanted to be a nurse, It was just a matter of DOING it. For some reason it seemed unattainable for a lot of years. It seemed like something I would do "someday" ... "when my kids grow up"... etc. I am glad I am finishing now though, while my kids are still little. I know that they will be proud of me, just like I was of my mom. I also know they will be happy to have me home more frequently, but that I will be able to work for more than minimum wage. I know that if anything happened in my life, I have a back-up plan, and a way to help support my kids. Also nurses hours are pretty good, even full-time you are home more than away. (working 3 12's I mean)
It is weird to turn 26. Weird because I feel I have so much tied to it. Grateful for my husband, and not to be doing it alone like my mom. I am feeling happy about where my life is headed right now. Just ready to see everything start falling into place. :)