After leaving my daughter's father when she was eighteen months, I became an only parent. Though ultimately it's been her and I ever since, we've done well at the "it takes a village" model with extended family and close friends having strong relationships to help her grow strong too.
Determined not to let my status as a divorced only parent be what defined my life I decided what I really wanted to do was go back to school and then on to grad school so I could teach. At the time I didn't tell anyone my long term plan, only that I was going to school to finish my Bachelor's degree. Then I worked my butt off to make the rest happen. Miraculously, it did.
I completed a Bachelor's degree with a double major in philosophy and English, and a minor called University Honors, which included writing an undergraduate thesis, all in three years (including summer school and a semester of 24 credits).
Above is a picture of me about to walk in to my first day of school. I started that three years of college education with a two-year old.
She tells me that she remembers this moment and that she's leaning back against the sign there because she was thinking she was SO BIG and was in the middle of trying to measure herself. All I remember is I was so happy, and that everything that came after was so much work but very much what I wanted.