Imagine – working toward a goal for years. A major, definable goal. You forsake hobbies and relaxation to achieve this goal. Your friends understand you are not available because they have either been there, or are, out of friendship, being supportive. Siblings are in the latter category, as are parents. They graciously accept the declined holiday invitations knowing I have a few weeks between semesters to spend time with my children, catch up on sleep and get the sinus infection that I have been postponing all term.
Finally, the big day is here. I didn’t attend high school graduation. I only attended graduation for my bachelors degree because my father said something like “I paid for it, I’m going to see you get the diploma.” (Bless his ol’ INTJ heart.) And we had a lovely celebration dinner following the formal ceremony.
Obtaining my graduate degree was a struggle. I changed majors within the medical school and took a leave of absence due to lack of support with the children at home, and again for treatment for lymphoma. But I found my passion! I worked as a research assistant; designed an independent study involving original research which allowed me to work with the CDC; completed my internship with the Department of Homeland Security and my Capstone project original research lead the way to revamping the local homeless resources. It reignited my passion for research and statistics, for issues pertaining to public health locally and on a global basis.
My children knew how enthused I was and were more excited and supportive than I imagined they would be – Home-made cards in hand, pride evident on their faces. They, along with my husband attended my graduation ceremony. As we were leaving the convention center, my (now ex) husband said “Well, I suppose if you want to go somewhere for a bite to eat we can.” I asked “Did you have something planned?” His response “No.”
My response: “Fuck you.”
Why? He has a doctorate. He knows what it takes to earn an advanced degree. Because mine was not a doctorate, was it not “worthy” of a planned celebration? Say, perhaps, reservations at a restaurant? I learned not to let the “X” reduce my accomplishments, but the constant degradation and lack of support for my goals, were ignored or criticized. It took me a long time and the right counselor to realize the cycle of abuse I was caught up in. It took another long while to hatch my safety escape plan, for myself and my children – when the victim tries to leave, violence tends to happen. And it did.
The times, they have changed…The “X” is miserable, his own doing and no one is sure where. He continues with attempts to manipulate the children and me, but we are “Teflon” now.
We, the three of us, celebrate the victories we see fit to celebrate – a week of no pet emergencies, my niece’s good response to chemotherapy, a well-written report for school. Sometimes, just making it through the week is a great reason to stop at the local chocolate shop for a on-site, caramel dipped, chocolate covered, tart apple – so rich, no one minds sharing. The “X” would have have considered it a waste of money, though he would have eaten a portion.
The times, yes, they are a-changing… for us, for the better.
Contribution for: Daily Prompt: Celebrate Good Times
Tags: celebrate the little things, celebration, challenges of school as a parent, children, children are great, daily, Daily Prompt: Celebrate Good Times, Department of Homeland Security, Emotional abuse, graduate degree, Graduation, INTJ, lymphoma