Monday, May 25, 2009

It is finished!

I’m not exactly sure when I broke a mirror, but I am hoping that after this weekend that life will be changing for the better. You see, I have finished my PhD in Counseling and Personnel services and graduated on Friday! And, it took me 7 years to complete the program!

My dissertation is dedicated to my children Victoria and Nicolas with the following words by Carl Jung “Nothing is a stronger influence psychologically on their environment, and especially on their children, than the unlived lives of the parents.” And while the process was very difficult for me and created some hardships for the family during the process, I know that ultimately this degree will benefit more than just me. I know it will have a strong influence on Tori and Nic.

You see, on the first day, of my first class, I was delighted to share that I was pregnant with my daughter Victoria. In fact, that class and the ladies that share the distinction “PhDiva” with me, saw the sonogram of Tori even before Slade! Then, last year Slade and I traveled to Russia and brought Nicolas home to our family. Tori and Nicolas truly are the bookends of my graduate career. Now, Tori will actually know a mommy who is not in school. And, If you want to know what a PhD looks like Tori is the physical representation of my 7 years in the program -- from conception to now!

Throughout my experience I really questioned whether or not I would actually be able to graduate. I juggled a full-time job and part-time student load. I have been in class and had to leave to take my sick daughter to the hospital. I have carried many incompletes that I was not sure that I would ever finish. I was devastated when I did not pass comprehensive exams the first time. Then, after writing a complete dissertation proposal, the Navy had decided to place a moratorium on all human-subjects research and it looked like I would not be able to propose my research anytime in the near future if I kept my subject. Starting over – even on a similar topic – was very difficult. It took a lot of motivation to make that switch.

If that wasn’t enough, on the day of my proposal we thought Slade had a heart-attack. And yet, I attended my proposal meeting. Then, just to top things off, I sustained 2nd degree burns on my right hand just weeks before I was to defend my the dissertation. It is amazing to me that I have persevered. Today, however, I am here to tell you “It is finished!”

Friday, May 8, 2009

Confessions of a 6 year old

Don't you just love the way kid's brains work? Here are a few recent out takes from conversations with Tori. . .

Tori: Mom, I can't wait to go to the "ho and tell."
Me: Are you having show and tell at school?
Tori: No, the "HO and TELL"
At this point, I'm puzzled.
Me: What's the "Ho and Tell"?
Tori: You know where the hot tub is. I'm going there with Marshall.
Me: Oh, you mean a hotel?
(Side note -- My family is coming to visit us in Maryland soon, and they will be staying at a hotel!)
Later, I just had to get Slade in on this one --- the ho and tell -- now just think about that for a moment -- I sure hope that no one will be "ho and tell" at the hotel :)! I had to ask Slade what he had been teaching our daughter!

Conversation #2 occurred at the dinner table. Sam (mid from the NA) was joining us for dinner.
Tori: Sam you are the first kid done.
Sam: I'm not a kid?
Tori: Well, you're not married.
At which point we all get a nice laugh.
Sam: What about the Pope?
Tori: Who?
I just love the fact that you are either a kid or married. I guess it does feel that way sometimes!

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

Did you know that May Day was actually the festival of Flora, the Roman Goddess of Flowers? This is one of the reasons that people adorn their houses with flowers on May Day. May Day is intended to mark the end of winter, and celebrate the coming of the new season.

Well, for me May Day will always be synonymous with the day that Nicolas became a US Citizen. I cannot forget the day that we landed in Atlanta after a longer than anticipated stay in Russia. We were exhausted but so glad to be back in the United States. If May Day was once the celebration of spring and a new season, I cannot think of a more fitting day to celebrate the new season in Nicolas' life by become a US Citizen -- pretty neat huh?

FROM 2008 TO 2009