I guess it’s been around four or five years now since the time I got sick of listening to the same complaints over and over about his job.
He was so unhappy and it was falling over into our home life.
It had started to go downhill after his dad died in 2005, and by 2008 it was getting tougher and tougher for him to leave work and all the crap of it at work.
As I was finishing up my Master’s Degree in the spring of 2008, I said to him, “Why don’t you go back to school?”
“For what? Business? Sales?”
He was thinking narrowly about getting better at a job he hated.
“What if you could do anything? Anything at all. Seriously. If you could get paid to do anything what would it be?”
He didn’t have an immediate answer, but after some thinking he said, “something with computers.”
I had a feeling he would say that since he had always been the resident “geek” in our family and group of friends. He was self-taught so far–tinkering with old hardware and figuring out how to fix all of our gadgets by himself.
“Babe? That is totally a thing, you know. Like a well-paying thing. You could totally do that. Go to school for a degree in nerd…I mean computers.”
He smiled. “I’ll think about it.”
(He’s not a spontaneous decision-maker. Which is good, because I am.)
That fall I was knocked up and Cort was taking his first college classes.
He was also laid off from the job he hated and never had to go back (Thank you, Bernie and Justin, for the job he now has that he enjoys!).
It’s been four years since the end of that first semester.
Four long years of Cort gone a number of nights a week.
Of weekends spent on homework.
Of worrying about grades and due dates.
Of arranging pick up from daycare.
Of needing evening babysitters when his class schedule and my work schedule overlap.
Of saying “no” to things we would like to do because Cort has class or homework to do.
Of solo-parenting Eddie…and then also Charlie…while daddy is gone.
Of doing everything we can to help Cort not just succeed, but do so brilliantly (can you say Dean’s list EVERY semester?)
He has been working toward this for more of our life together than not.
My only regret about the past four years is not looking into when the college held commencement. They do not have a winter ceremony, therefore Cort has chosen not to walk (he feels like it will be weird to come back and walk in May, and I have to say I sort of agree with him).
I wish he could put on that cap and gown and walk across that stage. He deserves it so much.
I wish I could tell you how proud I am.
At 18, he entered the university where I was. He had no direction and no idea what he wanted to do. Not surprisingly, he was distracted by other things and failed.
The following year he entered the university where his girlfriend was. And again failed because of lack of direction and motivation.
He decided he wasn’t college material.
He was only partially correct. He wasn’t college material then.
He had no motivation or direction.
But this time he did.
He surprised himself over and over with his grades, his study habits, his writing skills.
And I beamed. Because I knew he could do it. To watch him prove that to himself is a joy I can’t really put words to.
He has a tendency to be humble. To push attention off himself…even when I know he feels good about what he has accomplished.
(From what his mom tells me, he has always been a spotlight avoider. I do not understand this behavior! Ha!)
I asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate. He wanted nothing.
I don’t do “nothing” when it comes to an achievement like this.
So because he doesn’t have a stage to walk across or a cap and gown to put on (I did offer one of mine to him to just wear around the house or maybe to the office. He declined. Such a weirdo.), I decided to have a little get-together.
Just our family.
Just some appetizers.
No gifts or banners or fanfare.
But he deserves to be recognized for all his hard work and accomplishments.
For the TWO associate degrees he earned in the past four years.
Cort? I am so proud of you. So SO proud.
Yeah you, good-looking.
Way to go.