Today, I have a graduate….

This is a Flashback Friday post….

My daughter graduated May 19th in Fort Worth, Texas. I wasn’t blogging here then, but I was writing in a personal journal. I decided to revisit that amazing day and include some photographs (of course!).

Written – May 19th, 2012

I can’t believe this day is here. The year 2012 seemed a lifetime ago when she started kindergarten with her brand new back pack on that tiny little body. I remember she was SO excited. She really just wanted me to leave her so she could start BIG school and learn to read.

Sydney’s first day of kindergarten.

Her childhood was so much fun. She constantly smiled and entertained. There truly wasn’t a dull moment with her (the good kind).

I guess her grade school years have passed – a lifetime from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

Sydney’s last day of high school.

I truly don’t regret having her at the young age of 22.

I had more energy, more patience, and now? I think I reap more rewards, or maybe I’m just SO HAPPY I succeeded as a young mother barely more than a child myself.

I did it. I raised her. She is done (pretty much) this is one of the proudest days of my life.

More so, because she turned out to be such a great girl. Kind, carefree, fun…..beautiful inside and out.

Yep, I am one impressed mama.

These are the moments that can’t be missed.

Today, I celebrate this accomplishment. I celebrate one end of her life and the beginning of another.

I thought I would be so sad. I had no idea how completely amazing it would feel. A mix of pure joy and relief.

Congratulations Sydney!

Thanks for flashing back to that beautiful day in May.

Happy Weekend to you all!

Car Swap

It’s been (almost) five months since the worst car accident I have ever experienced, never mind that I wasn’t even in it.

I’m thankful for the last five months. I am thankful the scars are not as pink. And I am thankful the physical therapies, the tests, and the lawsuits are at their end.

It’s been a long road. A road of patience, and perseverance, but we did it.

We survived the aftermath and the after of the after math.

Since Jason’s precious Jeep was totaled back in April, he has been car-less. He has been in Jeep mourning day after day. The Jeep was/is his dream car. He still gets the Jeep magazine and holds on to it for dear life. But, as hard as it is, not having the Jeep, it has also been a huge blessing. For one, I don’t have to worry about it rolling with all the children inside. For two, one less car payment. You could say blessings both physically and emotionally (for me anyway).

What is not easier is having only ONE car between two adults that work full-time. Not only full-time, but also a good twenty-miles apart, and with a custody arrangement to contend with.

We have managed ……..for FIVE long months.

Some days, I take him to work and pick him up. He is usually at his office from 8:30am-7:00pm. Other days, the days he picks the girls up from daycare, he takes me to work and picks me up. Sometimes, I get a ride home from co-worker. Other days, I wait at the office until 7:30pm when he picks me up after he drops the girls off. On those days, I am at the office from 9:00am-7:30pm.

When Jason takes me to work, he drives over 80 miles in one day, just to drop me off, and pick me up.

In ONE day.

Every weekend plan involves who needs the car and who can do without a car. Usually, we all go, or don’t go.

But we have done it……and I am extremely proud.

I don’t think a lot of families could make the sacrifices we have; to save money, stress, and some environment pollution.

Truth is…there was some talk at my job about sending everyone in the office to work from home. About half did get sent home, the other half (all four of us), still work in the office, and possibly plans have changed about us working from home.

Who knows? Apparently, it’s not something I can bank on.

Having one car and me working from home is not a big deal. But one car and Jason driving 80 miles in one day is.

So after five months, we are going car shopping.

Yes, finally.

It won’t be a dream car, but it will be an enormous relief.

I will be glad to be able to go to/from work without waiting. And planning weekend activities independently (if we need to).

I will miss our morning commutes together. I will also miss our impromptu dates, because of traffic (wink,wink), to eat at our favorite places for dinner.

I will miss ALL those things, but really, I am just glad to have more time at home.

I think it is worth every penny.

So wish us luck as we car shop, and end the swap.

And don’t worry, we have plenty of time for dream cars. I promise honey!

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!

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.

ConGRADS!

Today is a big day

Thoughts have swirled around in my head about what to write for today.

Do I tell you about my Dad(s)? Gary and Carl. One biological, one by marriage; both showered me with all the love and care a girl could hope for.

Do I tell you how today is the first anniversary of my blog? The sad, shocking beginning that turned into the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

Or do I tell you about all my firsts on Father’s Day? The first time I ever visited a Church and liked it (3 yrs ago). The first time Jason told me he loved me (2 yrs ago). The first time I had a Father’s Day with no living Father (today).

Now you can see why this is probably one of the hardest posts to write. How do I celebrate the sheer joy and accomplishment of blogging, but also honor the two men that changed my life? Two men who are no longer here. Two men that departed way too soon. All my Father’s are in heaven now. I can’t hug them, or mail a card. I can only fill my heart with gratitude for being blessed by their presence in my life.

In a way, this is all connected. My blog. My Dads. Their life and death. I wrote about my step dad when I first starting blogging, One year later, A Father’s Love. I wanted everyone to know, there are GOOD step parents out there. Ones that truly love you, like you are their own. Ones that add to your life. So much about me reflects my step dad. My love of computers, my compassion for the disabled, and my desire to always live life to the fullest, despite the hand you are dealt. Writing his story was deeply touching and healing for me.

In the same first blog year that I remembered my step dad, I said good-bye to my real one – Good-bye Dad. I haven’t wrote the story about seeing him for the last time. Not really, but I will. I wrote a blog post within hours of his passing. It was the most therapeutic thing I could have done. He was a FUN Dad. He made me laugh. His death has been much harder for me. He wanted to be cremated. There is no grave. I know he wouldn’t be in that grave. I do. I guess I just wanted a place to visit and tell him what was going on, like I do with my step dad.

What’s weird about that is yesterday I realized…I DO have a place. The park by Jason’s house is FULL of wild life, and every bike ride I take, I see an animal. Some creature great, or small crosses my path. My Dad LOVED animals. He wanted to be a park ranger. I remember weekends at his house when I would look at ALL the books he had on wildlife. He even sent me a magazine subscription on animals every year when I was little. I realized, this is where he is for me, and why I love it so much. I see a bobcat and think….Dad would flip to see that (he had a stuffed one – no lie). I see a Red-tail Hawk in flight, and there is Dad forefront in my mind watching it soar with me. He is in that place, in that park, and it only took two bobcats, a snake, and a lizard to convince me of it (ha).

My year of blogging hasn’t just told stories, but I’ve met friends. I was even lucky enough to meet them in person. Take a look.

Peggy

From – Square Peg in a Round Hole. She is a delight and her blog is a delight, plus she had a friend with her named, Angelia. I kid you not. Pronounced Angela but still…..that’s pretty cool in my book.

Christy and Aiden.

From – Tales of the Toot. She is an incredible woman of faith and strength. It was an honor to meet them both.

Lance

From – Jungle of Life. I know Lance and his family are here to put a smile on your heart. They are just huge joy and I am so glad our paths crossed and we met in person. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any “live” pics (this time). You must check out his Sunday posts. They are divinely inspiring. Happy Father’s Day, Lance.

Lastly, I haven’t met her YET, but come this October, I will. I found my wedding photographer – right here in my first year of blogging. She visited my blog and that’s how we met.

Kellene

From – Bella Lucia Photography. Check out her blog and her pictures and tell me she is not mad talented. I can’t WAIT to hug her neck in person. I hope she doesn’t mind I borrowed her pic to showcase her.

I must thank Jason most of all, for coming into my life, and gifting me such wonderful things to blog about. For being my supporter, my subscriber, and even a commenter now and again. Without him, I would have never found this place, and never created this blog of memories, I so dearly love. I am very, very happy to see how far I have come, and how long I have accomplished blogging. What a great feeling. I wouldn’t trade a minute.

So thank you readers, bloggers, and friends, for sharing this first anniversary with me. Happy Father’s Day to you. Embrace all the love you can hold; hug a Dad today…..for me.