Friday, February 24, 2012

There's Power In Support

For the past couple of weeks, I've been having flashbacks to when I was in graduate school. Maybe it's because some of my friends are still in grad school and I feel their pain. Like, really. 

I've been particularly thinking about my last few weeks of grad school and how I was justthisclose to finishing with my second Masters degree (M.Ed.). Once I successfully completed a Special Project. My Special Project. Ahh, [not-so-good] memories…

Being the Type-A personality that I am, I double double-checked all the sections of my Special Project before handing it in – all 30 pages of what I felt was the culmination of long days, longer nights, over-caffeinated beverages, carpal tunnel from my poor fingers ferociously typing away at my laptop keyboard, the early onset of Astigmatism from starring at my computer screen far too long, shoulders that I’m sure rivaled “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” from, well, hunching over for hours on end, blood (figuratively), sweat (literally), and tears (again, literally). Because of all this, I was oh so sure that my Special Project, my baby, was complete to perfection when I handed it in.

It was not. A few nerve-wracking weeks later, my Advisor returned it to me and it was bleeding. My baby had red markings all over it – elaborate on this assessment of your client, discuss what you attribute your clients’ behaviors to, talk less about this theory, edit this ENTIRE section. Ouch! After my advisor returned my Special Project to me, I had one week to revise it and turn it back in for a second assessment. If the second assessment was not good enough, then I would fail the project and wouldn’t be able to graduate.

I’d been a full time graduate school student and single mom for two years, and while I knew I was so close to graduating, I was exhausted beyond measure and overwhelmed beyond what I ever thought possible. Between motherhood, work, and school, I just knew that I wouldn’t have the time or energy to revise my Special Project.

So I called my sister and asked if she could babysit. Without hesitation, she said, “Yes.” 


If it weren’t for support, I wouldn’t have made it through graduate school. No way, no how.  And not only the support of my sister either. There was my godmother who, although she lives in another state, would encourage me through her phone calls, inspire me through her text messages, and cheer me on through her emails. There was my old college roommate, T, who would send me care packages equipped with vitamin C and a “You can do this” pick-me-up message. There was my good friend, L, who would remind me that although grad school sucks big time, I was doing a good job. They were my girlfriends Tati and M who would listen to me vent for as long as I needed to. There were my blogger pals (yep, you guys), Facebook buddies, and Twitter followers who would cheer me on. All. The. Time. Sometimes it seemed as though y'all believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Feeling that kind of love was really, really touching. Overwhelming, even. 

Unwavering support.

And then there was Aiden. My beautiful, too-amazing-for-words Aiden. His smile and contagious positive energy made the hard work all worthwhile because I knew that it would pay off for the both of us. His presence alone helped me to endure the sleepless nights, and the blood (figuratively), sweat (literally), and tears (again, literally). I did it for him. For us. For our future.

I’ll admit that I don’t know much about life. However, one of the things I do know is that when it comes to parenting and getting through rough patches, the things that mothers can accomplish with a little support, is nothing short of amazing. "It takes a village to raise a child," is what they say.

I’m a single mother, but I still made sure that I have my village – my support system – in place. Knowing that there are people in my corner whom I can depend on in the time of need (even if only to listen to me vent) makes me feel as though I can take on the world. Or at least try to. My support system need not be big in numbers and it need not be people who live in close proximity to me. But it is there. In place. In the time of need. And that makes a huge, huge difference in my life and in Aiden's life.

Do you have your support system in place?


  1. Great story.

    My parents are a huge support for me. When I'm feeling down my dad won't hesitate to ask if he can come and pick me up, because he knows I feel better with people around me. My mother is very supportive of my journalism course. She's always believed in me, and my writing and research skills. In fact, she was the one who, when I was at the age of thirteen, adviced me to go to journalism school. My younger sister is a doll. Whenever I need her, she's there. We get along well and we really understand eachother.

    And then there's a bunch of friends who believe in me and are willing to listen when I'm having a rough day, and who encourage me to "push it" and go on when I feel like quitting.

    So all together that's a good safety net. I'm glad to read you have people in your life, too, who support you and encourage you and are there for you when you need it.

  2. Ah, you are one bright girl. Support is very important, especially at the right time when it's terribly needed as you stated above.

    Family and friends have supported my projects over the years. Afterall. We are all responsible one for another. I congratulate you.

    Motherhood, school, daily life, and all the other things which comes along with said. You must have an enormous amount of inner strength and a solid support system.xx

  3. Support systems are everything. It is so important to just be heard out. As women we internalize a lot and it's nice to have a circle of people to vent to and offer up encouragement.

    My support system has changed over the years. It's grown to include some bloggers & twitter friends as well as a few moms from our playgroup.

  4. Omg, without that support system I dont know what I'd do. Thank god for family & friends!

  5. It's so great you have that support. Thank goodness you could get back to that special project! And so awesome that you got your grad degree despite being so busy! - Bicultural Mama

  6. Amen to that sista! With the right support system one can accomplish amazing things. Good for you Alicia.

  7. Absolutely. I could not survive without my support team and being able to ask for help I think makes you a better parent. When you stretch yourself to thin I think you do a disservice to your children. My mother is always around to help and I ask for it when needed. I also have a cousin and friends who are happy to pitch in. We are a great team!

  8. SO true. I need to get better at asking for help. The people who love you want to be there and see you succeed.


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