There’s a girl, a woman, I want you to know.
Tomorrow morning, 20 years to the month of my college graduation, she'll earn her bachelor’s degree.
Only the second in the family to do so, two decades later.
In July she begins graduate school, the first in the family to do so. She’s just 23 and has done more professionally and personally than some do at 33 or 43 or in a lifetime. She alone paid for school. She worked full time along the way gaining skills in phlebotomy and as an EMT, in hospitals and ER's, sales and outreach, health care administration and policies. She has the position and thoughtfulness and reputation among peers to align jobs to friends and family in need of employment, and has.
She’s married to a man who’s forthright and tells things true and who stands by her. And she loves him right back, hard and for real. They have dogs and a garden and a home they bought together. They just put in new hardwood floors.
She likes to carry Coach purses and can afford them. The trajectory of her career has been meteoric, a testament to her smarts and drive and her "it" quality. Many grads will awake Monday to job searches and retail positions. She’ll head to her office and high profile supervisory role to await the call from the executive assistant to the man who wants to interview her for management. She's worked hard for the success she has, and she's worked smart, because she knows that knowledge is real power. And money the bonus.
I want you to know she's quirky and funny. She gets things done, she tries every new thing and says exactly what's on her mind without being hurtful or spiteful or judging. She wants to be recognized, occasionally celebrated because, in truth, she never really was. She was overlooked a lot, third born, always last in line and craning her neck to be seen.
I want her to know how sorry I am others don’t always seem to see her like I do. It’s a mystery why they don’t, worse yet a shame.
When she graduated high school I wrote in a long letter tucked into a hard cover book that those who say “you can’t” or “it’s not possible” are simply too afraid to try themselves. She never was. She isn't.
I want to tell her I’ve paid attention, I’ve watched and wished along and can’t wait to hear what comes next.
She is worthy and deserving.
She gives me something more to aspire to.
She is my family.