In 1999 I walked, cap and gown-clad, to the front of Mabee Center at William Jewell College to receive my Bachelor degree in Psychology. I was so proud of myself… and relieved. Thank goodness, I thought as I raced out of there with diploma in hand, I’m done with school forever.
Since then I’ve earned 736 additional degrees, diplomas and certifications.
I have a degree in Foul Smell Identification, with a minor in Dirty Diaper Disposal. A requirement of earning this degree is the ability to eat dinner with a soiled child on my lap, discern the smell of my own child’s stinky diaper while in a sea of preschoolers at Chuck E. Cheese, and use a single McDonald’s napkin found under the seat of the car to clean an entire bottom… without getting any on me.
I’ve earned my First Aid certification, something I began working on the day my older son learned to walk. Along with that certificate I received an advanced distinction in I-Know-What-You’re-Doing-Now-Stop-It, which came with an award of a sixth sense.
I’m still studying for my Master’s of Shoulder Shrug Interpretation –- something I’ve been working on for 13 years now. I don’t see any end to this program in the near future as my professor (my 13-year old daughter) has begun conjugating her shoulder shrugs with new, subtle modifiers: the shoulder shrug and eye roll conjugation, the shoulder shrug and curled lip combo, the shoulder shrug and cocked head, and the compound-complex shoulder shrug and tears. And I thought Professor Vera’s Spanish class was a killer!
At the grocery store, I’ve earned my Bachelor of Aisle Avoidance, an easy degree I earned before my second and third children were even born. But the exclusive Bachelor of Grocery Store Avoidance, regrettably, isn’t offered in my state (and I can’t afford the out-of-state tuition).
I’m proud to say that just this year I finally earned my PhD in Getting-to-the-Bottom-of-It. I’ve got techniques that can get the dog talking and bring a mere guilty child to his knees. I applied for the FBI’s Hostage Interrogation program last week. They turned me down. Seems I’m too ruthless. Amateurs.
No matter, I still have my many certificates to fall back on. There’s the Carpet Cleaning certification I earned after my children began their own Fine Arts program, which involved Pixie Sticks, a lot of water, and my off-white dining room carpet. A few days later I earned my Tile Laying certificate. That was coincidentally the week I earned my Advanced Plumbing certificate. You may have heard of this program referred to as the If-You-Want-To-Pee-In-A-Floating-Dixie-Cup-Fine-But-Don’t-Flush-It-Next-Time program.
You may think I’m very studious, but I’m not. I simply see an opportunity for further instruction arise and before I know it, I’ve got the degree. You may say my family pushes me into it.
Bachelor of Sock Sorting, Masters in Get-That-Bucket-Off-The-Dog’s-Head, Doctor of Verbal Threats I’ve No Intention of Following Through On. Certificates in Family History, Last Minute Brownies, and Shoe Tying. Awards for excellence in Mashed Potato Removal, Lack of Sleep Survival, Telephone Jockeying, and Halloween Costume Repair. I’ve got them all.
I couldn’t be happier about being wrong on that day in 1999. My education at Jewell was fun and rewarding, but it just can’t touch the University of Loving Family where I’ve received my advanced degrees. In fact, I’m beginning a new program today: Child Appreciation.