Monday, August 27, 2012

Fortunate Decisions

I am always amazed at how the decisions I have made in my life have prepared me for the life I have been handed. I truly believe that things happen for a reason and that God will help you to make the decisions to equip you for the future.

Since I was a small child, I wanted to be a scientist. I loved all kinds of science and was that geeky kid who played with their microscope, telescope and chemistry set. Middle school came and I was introduced to marine biology. This was truly where I found my passion. I had a great teacher in 8th grade who took an interest in the shy, science loving 13-year old version of me and my love for marine biology sky-rocketed. I took honors and AP biology in high school. Those were my absolute favorite classes. I think everyone thought that I would do something that had to do with biology.

When college came, I had to make my first real adult financial decision. My mom worked at a university close to home and because she did, my tuition there would be free. However, it was nowhere near the beach and did not have a marine biology program. I could go to a different school and major in my desired field, but I would have to come up with a way to pay for it. Since I wanted to be a research marine biologist and live on a boat months out of a year, I would likely not be making a ton of money to pay back the astronomical debt that a masters in marine biology would provide. Also, as I reached my late teen years, I knew that I would eventually like a family. I grew up in a house where my mom was fortunate to stay home with us. I wanted that for my future kids. I wanted to be that mom who was always there. My dream of being a marine biologist didn't really fit within that. Slowly, the reality of the world started to change my dream.

I started thinking of all of the teachers who took an interest in me and realized that that's what I wanted to do. The school that my mom worked at had a fantastic teaching program. I loved working with kids. Most importantly, being a teacher would allow me the schedule and education that I would need to raise my children. I declared my major and started working hard toward learning how to teach.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself with two very fragile 26 week preemies in the NICU. Their identical triplet brother had just passed away. The entire experience was beyond overwhelming, but I was very glad that I had a better than average understanding of science when talking with the many doctors and specialists that worked with my sons. Because of my base knowledge, I was quickly able to learn what I needed and wanted to know about their situation. There were times that doctors would ask me if I worked in the medical field because I seemed knowledgeable. My answer was always, "No, but I have two premature little boys and I will learn everything I can to help them and understand what is going on."

They became older and it was apparent that there were some delays. Once again, I found myself incredibly prepared for that reality. I had taken classes in child development and psychology (including basic neuroscience) for my teaching degree. I could understand the different parts of development and I was good at creating "lesson plans" for my children. They became my full-time job and I became their teacher.

Now, my boys are school-aged... and the decision to pursue a teaching degree is once again being rewarded. I am homeschooling one and the other is still getting extra help from me in off-school times. I am able to work with them and adapt my teaching style to their needs. I have also found that Benjamin has a love for science. I am able to enthusiastically teach him using science and keep him motivated and interested. I am hoping to pass on that passion to him.

There are friends from my past who ask me why I gave up marine biology and think that I should have pursued it. But, in all actuality, the decision I made was truly being preparing me for the life that was coming.