Monday Musings: Milestones

Last night, I watched the streaming video of Oregon State University’s commencement ceremony, hoping to catch a glimpse of my Dad, who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History (will be upgraded to summa cum laude after summer term grades are added in).  As I watched, I worked on my wedding dress, and it struck me how surreal this all was.  Seven years ago, I was living with my Dad and his wife after I got divorced, and neither one of us could have predicted we’d be where we are now.

My Dad turned 17 a couple of weeks before I was born, and graduated from high school a few months later.  He joined the Air Force but left two years later when his own father passed away.  He took a few college courses, but time and money were in short supply and he didn’t really have any idea what he wanted to be when he grew up.

I took a handful of college classes between my junior and senior years of high school, and another handful after graduation, but like my Dad, time and money and any idea of what I wanted to do with my life just weren’t available.  I got married, worked a variety of temporary jobs, tried a couple of those home party sales businesses, and finally tried college again just before I turned 30.  But everything got shook up when I asked for a divorce.  My nine years of marriage had left me with a distaste for the institution and I vowed it would take someone very special to convince me to try it again.

So in 2005, I started my life over.  I eventually ended up in Virginia, working in a call center as a customer service representative.  In 2008, I moved to the Chicago area and started working for a non-profit agency.  In 2009, I decided to give college another try, and began taking classes online through Columbus State Community College, majoring in Business Management – Entrepreneurship, with the idea of starting my own business someday.  That “someday” came sooner than I expected, as I was laid off in June of 2009.  I’ve had some fits and starts and lots of trial and error to get to Rewondered and upcycled fashion design, but I feel I’m on the right track now.  I’ve decided to take another year at CSCC to take some classes that will specifically help me with my business, then transfer to Granite State in Autumn of 2013 for my Bachelor’s degree.  If my plans work out (and we know how well my life goes according to plan!) I should graduate after Summer term of 2014.

Unfortunately, my Dad also got laid off in 2009, but that was the catalyst for him to go back to college.  His wife asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and as he sat down and seriously thought about the question, his love of history, particularly World War I aviation, took the forefront.  He’s worked very hard over the last three years, and that all paid off yesterday as he sat in a crowd of nearly 4000 other students waiting to be handed their degrees.  I caught a glimpse of him when the camera panned the crowd already at their seats during the processional, but he wasn’t facing the camera.  Then the first shot of the crowd when they asked everyone graduating with honors to stand was centered on him.  I yelled out “there he is!” even though I was the only one in the room at the time.  Lorne and I tried to catch him actually being handed his degree but with six different cameras to watch and no idea where he was in line, we weren’t able to.  But I stole this picture off his Facebook this morning:

My Dad, the Grad

My Dad, the Grad

The ceremony was pretty long, and afforded me the perfect opportunity to work on the hand sewing I needed to do for my wedding dress.  I have it mostly done, but there are a few tweaks left before it’s perfect.  I’m still planning to make it the first entry in my Rewondered: Before and After series, so you’ll get to see pictures.  My vision is definitely coming together!

So my Dad is now a college graduate (woohoo!) and I am getting married again in about two months (eek!) and I’m still sitting here in a bit of shock and awe.  We’re growing up so fast!  😛

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