The Realization of a Dream, Part Three

I must confess that this post has very little to do with living with Adrenal Insufficiency. It isn’t even about the realization of one of my dreams.

Nope.

This post has to do with someone else being able to realize one of their life long dreams.

Because no doesn’t always mean no.

Sometimes it means “Not yet.”

The Background

I come from multiple generations of incredibly strong women. My great-grandmother was a refuge who was forced to flee religious persecution and slaughter in “the old country” (Persia). Her child, my grandmother grew up on a farm where English was not the native tongue. As an adult, my grandmother escaped a bad marriage and raised four daughters (including one with special needs) as a single mom during a time where it was not as socially acceptable to be a single mom.

Her child, my mom, was the oldest.

My mom started out her time in college as a music major, but then she switched to a business major with a minor in music. She married my father two years after graduation.

About ten years into my parent’s marriage, my mom was researching masters’ programs. It had always been a dream of hers to continue her education. However, as a stay-at-home mom with two young kids, she put her dream on hold and supported my father during his journey to obtain his MBA. It was an exciting moment for our entire family, and my mom stood proudly by my father’s side, supporting him as he received his fancy piece of paper.

masters degree

Photo from 1996, when my father earned his degree.

Fast forward another six or seven years. While we were living in Texas, the opportunity came up for my mom to finally pursue her masters. She took it! It was in a field she was passionate about, and she made it through her first series of classes with straight A’s.

But my father came home from work one day and told my mom about a new job opportunity for him. It was absolutely amazing and would further catapult my father’s career and greatly increase his earning potential. However, it would require a rather large sacrifice on my mom’s part. The new job was in a different state and she would need to drop out of her master’s program.

After a great deal of discussion, it was decided that my family would relocate from Texas to Arizona in order to further my father’s career. My mom went from planning a class trip to Prague for school credit to planning a cross country move with a ten year old boy and a thirteen year old girl with undiagnosed adrenal insufficiency.

She had always dreamed of earning her Master’s Degree.
But she found herself, once again, purposefully walking away from it.

The Realization of a Dream

Let us move the clock forward over a decade later. My parents received word that their alma matter was merging with another university in order to avoid complete closure. That new university extended an extremely generous offer: All alumni were eligible for a discount equating to one third off of their tuition, if they would like to pursue further education at the merged institution. The merged institution also had an extensive online master’s degree program.

This was the opportunity for my mom to pursue the dream that she had never truly given up on. Yet it was something that had previously been unobtainable. It was just a fact of life and priorities. She put her husband’s MBA ahead of hers to raise my brother and I when we very young. She dropped out of her dream master’s program in order to move her family to Arizona. She supported and followed her husband as his career continued to grow requiring additional family moves to other states. Then she supported me and my brother as we pursued our college educations. All the while, her masters credits were left to expire.

And yet…

My mom applied for the program and was accepted. The crazy woman then managed to cram two years worth of classes into sixteen months (she does not recommend that, by the way). She defended her thesis December 2017 and we held a preliminary celebration during our mother / daughter Christmas Cruise.

mother-daughter-cruise

Photo from December 2017, on a celebration victory cruise with my mom.

A few months later, our immediate family gathered together to watch her walk in May.

degree

My mom proudly walking across the stage. She was Summa Cum Laude! Photo from May 2018.

Perhaps, instead of the lie “No. You can never do that” we should proclaim, “Not yet.

degree

Photo from May 2018.

What is your “Not yet?”

Fun fact: With my mom’s fancy piece of paper, this officially makes me the least educated person in my immediate family. My younger brother has his master’s degree. My father has his master’s degree. My mom? Not only did she earn her master’s degree BUT she also took and passed a PhD level course.

As for me? Well, I’m just an engineer.

Perhaps one day, I too, shall have the opportunity to pursue a masters.

degree

Photo from 2014. I was unable to attend because I was living in Malaysia.

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