Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dedicated to the one I love...

Kent--oh how I love him!

One week from today, on December 18th, my husband will be accomplishing a goal that is 30 years in the making.  When we first starting going out, and he told me of his dream to go back and finish his degree, I could sense the hesitation in his voice.  Between work, kids, working out, friends--something always seemed to get in the way of school.  And I could relate.  Being an adult in college is so much harder than doing it the traditional way because the world as an adult is anything but all about you.

When I decided to go back to school, there were no support structures in place.  I was in the middle of a divorce, the kids were just babies, and I was a mess.  College intimidated me.  The first go around, right after high school, proved to be a life changing event.  Except in the negative.  When I failed, yes failed, out of college I was left having to pay off my scholarship (nothing's free with crappy grades!), lost my passion (basketball), and for the first time felt like a nothing--a nobody--a complete loser.  It took ten years to get my butt back into school.  So there I was--a single mom, living in a crappy apartment, trying to make enough money to pay the bills and feed my kids.  It was hell.  The first time I heard gunshots out in the complex's parking lot I knew I had to do something to get out of that place.  I was scared for my kids, and just scared.

I'll never forget the amazing professors I had--the ones that understood when my sitter fell through and I came to class with a 2 and 3-year-old in tow.  They were always so accommodating--giving them a desk, not minding the crunching of their snacks, and the occasional "Mommy!" in that loud adorable whisper when they needed to show me their assignments.  Sleep--that was a luxury that was granted when the kids were at their dad's.  I was drained.  Completely, utterly, drained.

After getting my associate's and about a year into my bachelor's, I was ready to throw in the towel.  I wouldn't have my undergraduate degree until I was 32.  THIRTY-TWO!  I was feeling down, trying to justify why I should quit.  I remember calling up my mom and telling her, "I'm just so tired!  Besides I won't graduate until I'm 32!"  The next words that left her mouth resided with me from that day forward.  Over the phone she said, "Meredith, you're going to be 32 regardless--so you can be 32 with a degree or 32 without one.  Choice is yours."

From that moment on I never looked back.

This day for my husband means something more than a diploma could ever simply define.  It means perseverance.  It means staying up until all hours reading, taking notes, and typing papers.  It means sometimes putting things you desperately want to do on hold.  It means dedication.  It means doing something for yourself--for your own well being.  It means accomplishment.  It means putting in the hard work and seeking the reward--whether it be financial or personal gain.  It means believing enough in yourself to go and do something you've never been able to do before.  It means trudging on even when you don't want to.

There have been times when he struggled--and even a time when I had to take out my mom's advice to help him through.  The struggle is what makes next weekend so much more than my husband merely just getting a piece of paper.  I couldn't be more proud of Kent than I am of him for seeing his goal through.  So next weekend when he's marching down the Denver Convention Center's aisle, looking sharp in his black gown and cap, I'll be his biggest fan--not only cheering loudly, but wiping a few tears away as well.

Yes, babe!  YOU DID IT!

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