This week was a pretty momentous week in my life. 

It all started two years ago, when I decided to take the plunge and return to school for a master's degree. Enrolling in college again (with my 20-something classmates), exploring a completely different field, writing papers, taking exams, and working through internships while caring for my family and spending quality time with them was nothing short of miraculous. During my academic adventure, my patience was tested, my priorities were evaluated, and I learned more about myself than at any other point in my life. 

The culmination of my hard work and dedication was recently realized when I passed the Comprehensive Examination and Praxis in Speech and Language Pathology, certifying my license to work in New York. As I received the results, I cried from joy but also because I have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get to this point. 

Birthday parties were missed, sick kids were dropped off, and important dinners were rescheduled so that I could make a class, meet for group projects, or attend obligatory work-study requirements. My kids would sometimes break my heart with their cries of, "Please stay home this time," "We miss you," and "Why are you always studying?"

But as each semester passed, the children were also anxious to see how I did. They realize that following your dreams is important to leading a happy life, that hard work pays off in the end, and that the results toward which you strive can be accomplished with determination. 

On the eve of the big test, I had laid down with my daughter for a few minutes at bedtime. 

"Mom," she said, cupping my face in both of her hands, "don't be nervous, just try your best. No matter what happens, we all still love you. You can never fail here." Knowing that was true was an A+ to me. 

The next morning, when I dropped the kids off at school, I kissed them goodbye and watched them walk through the school doors. As I started to get back into my car, my son came running back out of the school, screaming, "Mom, mom, mom!" 

"What?" I asked, taking a quick glance into the car thinking that his lunchbox must have still been sitting in the back seat or something.

Instead, he said, "Good luck today, Mom. I know you will do great." 

After the test, once I received my results, I made my way home filled with excitement to see my family. I opened the door to find three smiling faces, two little pairs of hands holding balloons, and a third pair holding a bottle of champagne. The kids were jumping up and down with excitement.

Talk about making it worthwhile!

Our work as mothers is truly a juggling act; one that requires vigilance and drive, as well as compassion and tenderness for our families and support system. And though this juggling act will require more practice in the months and years to come as I start my career as a speech-language pathologist, I'm sure (like most mothers out there) I will find a way to survive and keep my family safe and secure in my love for them.