Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WW: Pomp and Circumstance


You probably think all three of the people in this picture look way too old to be participating in the obvious activity on display. Well, you're right, they are. The characters in question? My parents and me. The activity? College graduation. 

The year was 1997. I had just had my second son. In fact, during my final semester, I spent 4 weeks on bed rest. My mom came up from Texas and drove me to and from class. My husband was still in training for his career, making mere pennies, and I had taken out every student loan I could get my hands on. I figured if we were going to be poor, we might as well be destitute. If you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly, right?

We all look deceptively sane in the photo, don't we? It's weird how I remember that day FAIRLY well, but the years preceding it are so blurry now. My memories of walking to class, being called Mrs. W by my classmates, study groups, research projects, husband being in charge (I use that term VERY loosely) at home while I was in class... they're all pretty much gone. But the good news is those memories have been replaced by ones of the kids, family activities and other precious things.

However, graduating from college, 100 years late, is probably my most significant accomplishment to date. I don't consider being a mom or a wife accomplishments. And I don't mean that derogatorily, either. I would consider them to be blessings. Or maybe works in progress. 

Life has intervened at almost every turn in my life. My plans I had for my life when I was a teen have been reshaped by car wrecks, stupidity, true love, health scares and time... but I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. 

*author's note: as impressive as this all may sound, please note that said graduate has done NOTHING of value with that little slip of paper called a diploma. 

And let's hear it for Angie, hostess with the mostest of Wordful Wednesdays!

37 comments:

blueviolet said...

Congrats on that major accomplishment and it's ok if you haven't used your diploma. You did the hard part and earned it! :)

Hootin' Anni said...

Excellent!!!!

Come on over and visit with me and my very wordful Wednesday post...I just couldn't stop shivering this morning....errrrr, ummmm, chat-at-at-chatting away!!!

Brenda Jean said...

We are still paying off Chuck's loans-- we took out the maximum. LOL I was home with the boys, we had one car, and he wanted to be an RN. I've sort of blocked out those years because they were so dang stressful, but it was worth it:) So, what was your degree in? I have one in journalism-- hmmm...guess I can say I'm using it when I blog. BAHAHAHAHA

Straight to Your Hart said...

That is just awesome! When we reach a goal in our lives...a celebration is in order, even if only on paper. Always worth it!!!

This post gives me even more courage to go out and forge ahead with my college sites...ugh, after almost 20 years. Never to old!

BTW...the picture on my site was taken from my front porch a week ago.

Momma said...

Great post! I also have one of those pieces of paper and it is currently packed away somewhere and not being put to use at all! Too bad there wasnt one for doing laundry............I am really good at that!

jill jill bo bill said...

I know exactly what you are saying about the blur during that time. Sometimes I think, 'how did I do that?' I am so proud of you!!!


Where in TX does your mom live?

Jay @halftime lessons said...

Ahhh, College.

Couldnt have gotten my first REAL job without it, didnt even remotely need it to actually DO the job.

Welcome to Fairytale land, Dora.

Under the Influence said...

And if you are going to be destitute, you may as well be EDUCATED! Good for you!

Denise said...

That is awesome that you stuck with it and finished. Congrats. I have started and quit college more times than I want to admit. Life just gets too crazy and I drop the first thing that seems logical, which always ends up being classes. So Im proud of you for getting the job done.

Tenakim said...

I LOVE that story! I have a love/hate relationship woth the concept of college and degrees, too! Great post!

Elisabeth said...

Congratulations! At least you earned your degree and can use it whenever you are ready to!

Harlene said...

I am impressed and inspired. I spent the last semester of college I finished on bed rest too. Didn't finish yet mind you, no little paper, but it's been on my mind a lot lately and then your post...

How cute are you and your folks by the way?

Beadiful Things said...

Listen, we got my stepdaughter's grades for her first semester and they are as follows: W, W, D, F. The W's are withdrawals, one we knew about, the other we didn't. Clearly she just never went to class.

College is wasted on the young. I think they should have to take a few years off in between and work at McDonalds so that they can see where their future might go if they don't find some ambition (not that a college degree with ensure success -- I had plenty of lame and/or menial jobs both during and after college) and develop some kind of work ethic.

I did not appreciate or try very hard in college and I always think that if I had it to do over again (and, equally important, if I'd had to pay for it myself), I would try so much harder now. I often think about going back for jewelry design.

P.S. I never did anything of note w/ my degree either. Which always reminds of Mr. McGuire talking about girls going to college to get their MRS degree.

Beadiful Things said...

Your post also reminds me of a great card I got from a fellow mom-friend a year or so ago that said:

Thank goodness I got my college degree!

.....so I could become my child's personal assistant.

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

LOVE this - I went to school late as well - having to much fun sort of got in the way. BUT, like you, I did get that diploma (with honors), I did put it to use for about 6 years - then here I sit!

angie said...

I dropped out of college 2 classes shy of my degree. I went back when my #1 was a baby and it took 2 quarters to finish, but I still consider it an accomplishment (like you), wheras parenting is a blessing.....definitely not something with specific guidelines and then when you finish you're done. :) And, my degree is just a slip of paper and a sense of accomplishment in my heart b/c I've never done a thing with it.....except stash it in a hope chest. :)

A. said...

Congrats on your accomplishment! I'm currently pursuing my own piece of college paper to do nothing with.:)

Kristina P. said...

All that matters is that you did it! You go! (Was that a little to Tyraish?)

Soxy Deb said...

I used mine to drape some Christmas garland over last year. That's good right?

KatieZ said...

I love that you think that being a wife and mother are more blessings than accomplishments. And don't worry about not doing anything with that little slip of paper. You got it, that is what counts...and the fact that you are doing a much greater work right now (i.e. mom, wife)! Congrats on the diploma though!

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

What a proud moment for you and your family! Even though your slip of paper may not have been helpful, it's a great feeling knowing that you accomplished such a fantastic task.

Jen said...

You are so right, graduating is a major accomplishment!

Young Momma said...

I love it. :) I think it's great that you did it. Your parents were probably soooo proud. What did you go for?? I was thinking the same thing. Here I am ready to go to school and by the time I finish, what if I don't ever teach?? lol

girlytwins said...

That is a great accomplishment. using the diploma is more of a formality than anything. You are doing so much more for our future with your sweet boys.

CaJoh said...

Congratulations on finishing and getting that little slip of paper. Sometimes it's not so much what you do with a degree as much as it is the experiences you had getting it.

Michelle said...

I'm impressed you managed to graduate from college with kids in tow! I agree with you, graduating from college is one of my major accomplishments as well.

Jennifer said...

I love this post! I managed two degrees and I am happily a SAHM. :)

Congratulations and yes you all look wonderful.

I recall when DH was getting his PhD and I was pregnant with babies #2 and #3 just how poor we were, but gosh we had great times.

Elaine A. said...

Just the fact that you went to school WHILE being a mother amazes me. I'm good to put two sentences together with the kids runnin' around...

Nice photo and memory!

Live.Love.Eat said...

Great post. I love the whole "if you're gonna be a bear..." Never heard that before. You should be very proud of always going forward when it sounds like you got derailed a lot.

Mandy said...

Fantastic! I still have not finished...but plan to!

kel said...

I am dying to go back to school. I am so jealous. I just want to do it.. not even for diploma or job opportunities.. I just want to learn. I know that sounds nerdy, but I feel like I am losing brain cells here!

Lee the MWOB Queen said...

"Life has intervened at almost every turn in my life. My plans I had for my life when I was a teen have been reshaped by car wrecks, stupidity, true love, health scares and time... but I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. "

Oh Deb, that was a great WW and the pic is priceless. Full of hope and optimism and possibilities and still life goes its way. And yes, despite what you may think, I think you HAVE done something with that piece of paper. It's a part of you really....and it has helped you make that statement above which I love so much. Perfect.

Jenni Jiggety said...

Good for you, Deb! That is quite an accomplishment!

Nana said...

Just that you graduated is a major accomplishment!! Who cares if you don't use it. (Your diploma)

MomMega said...

This is such an inspirational post. Especially for someone who may think that she is "too old" or that it's too late to go back to school (me)!

Wendyburd1 said...

That you did it and are proud is all that matters! My Mom went back to college when I was in junior high and graduated from Nursing school the same summer I graduated from High School and I am insanely proud of her, she is my hero!

Lindsay said...

Getting a college degree is a MAJOR accomplishment, and you rightly should be proud of it. I'm in your club. It's been proudly unused for over two years and counting, and I couldn't be happier.