ConGRADS to the Dad Grad 2010

As Pomp And Circumstance began to play. The girls and I scour the bobbing hats and streaming tassels looking for the one we want to see. Dad. The one we have been waiting to watch walk down the aisle. The one Molly asked if his graduation was starting every three minutes for the last half hour (I’m not kidding).


There he is, the other aisle past our section, if you squint, you can see the happy grad giving us a wave. He saw us!

Catching a glimpse of our grad

I think the girls felt assured that you were in fact there after they saw you. How you saw us in that crowd from across the room – I have no idea.

I have not graduated from college, nor been to college. I don’t know the sacrifice involved. I don’t know the deadlines, the reports, or the group projects. I’ve never taken a college exam, nor studied for a final. I haven’t experienced it. I just don’t know. But…..

I do know for over a year, I watched a single dad working full-time and attending class from 6p-10pm two nights a week in an accelerated masters program. He gave up nights of movie dates, dinners, watching his favorite TV shows, and sleep to study. He spent evenings on conference calls with classmates to complete group projects. He took weekends to burrow in his office and study for the final exam after a fast paced six-week class. He made almost straight A’s.

I couldn’t have done it. Not with the pressure of life. Not with the craziness of kids, an ex, and visitation schedules that don’t take into consideration study time, due dates, and exams. But he did. He made it look easy. And although I can’t fully understand the experience, I can be in awe of his dedication and determination.

Master of Science in Information Systems from the College of Business at UTA…..I don’t even have words to express the magnitude of your success. An achievement most people only think about attaining (but never do).

Your daughters and I, after catching your smiling wave, watched with pride as the rest of the grads filed in one by one and the speeches began. Glancing at the sea of hats and tassels, feeling the resolving strength it took to wear those gowns, knowing each person had a story – a sacrifice – to get there. I got a little teary. Bridget rubbed and patted my arm snuggled next to me. I felt so lucky to be there witnessing that moment with your children, your brother, your step-dad, and your miraculous mother – all watching – all proud.

We listened to the encouragement from speakers alternating girls between laps and chairs. Every few minutes I would assure them Daddy was right there (pointing to all the grads in the direction you sat) and you would be crossing that big stage real soon.

I watched them closely for any sign of returning illness they had that morning (the throwing up kind). If they had still been sick, they would not have been able to attend. You would have been crushed. I would have shrugged it off as they are too little anyway, but my heart would have hurt for you. So praise God, they were well for your special event. Praise God, they spotted you headed for the stage and despite clapping for EVERY name called Jason. They did finally get the “right” Jason. They were so happy to see you on stage. We cheered our hearts out.

UTA Texas Hall graduation ceremony '10

I watched you on that stage through a 200mm lens lit up with the triumph and victory of a masters degree.

You did it. You, and no one else.

Congratulations Jason; my super smart hero who uses bigger words than this Oklahoma (schooled) non-edumacated girl knows (wink).

I truly thought you were crazy to take this on with two young children. I think I said, “Are you mad?

Now I know, you are not crazy. You are not mad as a hatter. Just super intelligent, driven, and proficient at what you do. Driven by a want to go above and beyond, not just for yourself, but for your children’s future.

I love you dad grad.

The master (heh!).

I cherish my life with you. I cherish your desire to always be the best.

You are.

I couldn’t be more proud.


12 thoughts on “ConGRADS to the Dad Grad 2010

  1. Kudos to Jason! I love the collage of the day…did you know Wal-Mart has an option in its online photo department to make collage prints for you? You just select up to 20 photos, and they create the collage right then, right there…and you can print it out and send it to the store! Only for about $2.

    He must be very lucky to have a wife as supportive as you during such a hectic time. I think a big congratulations is due for you as well!


  2. sandy Larnard

    Jason….I’m so proud of you, your willpower and determanation to do this for yourself and your family. Blessings to you and your wonderful family!!!!
    I pray that you all have a blessed Christmas and a Very Very Happy Blessed with overflowing blessings this up coming New Year. Love ya all Hardy Family!!!!


  3. John Linder

    Actually, I do understand quite well. I am a 54 year young “returning student”, on schedule to earn my Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of South Florida on August 6th, 2011. You have good reason to be proud of your dad’s accomplishment. Not only are the classes tough, they get tougher the higher you go in your education. And a masters degree in I.S. is a particularly tough degree to earn, on top of it all. I’ve only nibbled around the edges of I.S. and can personally vouch for this. More importantly, I also know how much your dad appreciates everyone’s patience while he was pulling this off. Without my wife and family’s support and patience, there’s no way I could do this, and I know Jason would say the same thing. So congratulations to Jason and you all. Not only have you accomplished something remarkable, you’ve taught your family and friends a much more important lesson:
    If you want it bad enough and work hard enough, you can do it. Just never give up.


  4. Jason

    Thank you! The support I had getting here made it possible. Earning both my bachelor and masters degrees while maintaining a full time job (the same job through both degrees covering a 14 year period) was difficult. Balancing family and personal relationships was also trying but I can honestly say that it made the experience all the more salutary. Thank you for the wonderful tribute. I love you and I’m so proud of your talent. Keep up the good work!!


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