I can hardly believe that my parents' daughter graduated with a college degree last night.
When I think back to who I was when I graduated from high school twenty years ago, it's easy to remember a wounded young woman, invisible, undeserving.
A young woman all alone, with no direction, no confidence and a whole host of self-destructive coping mechanisms.
Abandoned daughter of an addict. Daughter whose father and grandfather had dropped out of high school, and dropped out of their children's lives before they had the chance to know them.
Daughter of a depressed, heart-broken woman. Daughter whose mother scarcely showed approval or spoke words of encouragement.
A young woman who'd never been told that education was important, or that she could accomplish anything she'd set her mind to.
That's who I was well into my late twenties...
I took that wounded young woman off to college with me right out of high school. College, where I floundered, not sure how I fit in, dropping classes, "passing" classes with D's, earning such a low GPA that no college or university would touch me after two years.
I left college then, never expecting to return.
But I did... Completely unexpectedly.
And I completed the coursework over these last two years with one C shy of a 4.0. (Darned Chemistry.)
Receiving an Associates Degree is a casual milestone in the life of most 20 year olds... But, for me, completion of this degree is a major accomplishment. Honestly something I never thought I'd come close to.
As I prepared for graduation over these last few weeks, I was overwhelmed - once again - by the incredible miracles God has worked in my life. Aside from looking like an older version of that girl from twenty years ago, I do not resemble her at all. My heart is mended. My esteem, not a reflection of how I think others see me, but of how I know God does. Gifts and talents recognized. Inexplicable passions and direction. Determination.
The Lord has worked a mighty miracle.
While my mother often had difficulty expressing delight in me, she did find the words in her last years. I know she was proud. And my in-laws, siblings, friends, extended family, husband and children could not have been more supportive as I returned to school, studied like mad, and occasionally dropped a ball as I juggled a little more than I could handle at times. I am so grateful.
I have an incredible life. And an Associates of Science in Early Childhood Development. (That Science part makes me laugh out loud!)
Praise the Lord.
.....Check back in a few years for my Bachelors in Elementary Education. ESU class of 2015 (or '16) or bust!