It’s like a thousand random Instagram explore thumbnails put into a single collage. Love is what clears the collage and helps me focus on one image, one person, one moment per time.
When I found out I was having a baby, I was certain that deferring school was the best option for me. It doesn’t sound so complicated: You’re in your final year of grad school, just pause, have the baby and then get back to completing your program. Simple right? Now, throw in a little “International Student on F-1 visa”, “unemployed”, and a dash of “without family support”. Add, “married to an F-1 visa student in Michigan” into the mix and then, it doesn’t look so simple.
To be honest I thought it would be worse. You’ve heard those pregnancy stories that leave you scarred for life? Well for me, it’s not been anything that dramatic. However, there’s been some changes that are uncomfortable. I won’t bore you with the deep stuff. Shallow things like snoring and a swollen face make me feel a little insecure. Then there’s the worrisome things like the uncertainties of unemployment, thesis project, finances, visa status, life after F1 visa, I could go on and on.
I think I’m like the average “almost 30” youth of today. We feel really young, you know? No Aunty or Uncle vibes yet. With the baby on the way, my brain is working overtime now to answer the question: how does a baby raise a baby? Because there’s going to be two kids in the building when the newborn comes and I’m the other kid. That’s how it feels, at least for now.
The collateral beauty of it all appears every now and then and it keeps me going. I have always said that in your down times, the decisions that are going to save you are the decisions you made in your good times. We may not always make the best choices every time but it’s really good to choose a system that keeps you in check so on a bad day, when you’re at your lowest, most confused, anxious and afraid, those systems lift you up.
For me, it’s been Faith and Community. The best miracles are found in people: Love, warmth, compassion, kindness, laughter, a word of advice. These are things that make life worth living, encourage you to love and forgive yourself and teach you to do likewise to others. I will graduate soon, and the baby arrives just about the time spring semester resumes. Yes, I will get tired and have days when I’m flat out exhausted, but it’s okay, because for every unpleasant circumstance there’s a lot more goodness shining a light to help me figure a way forward. That goodness is the love we find in each other.