Yesterday, I shared the first few photos from a special photo album about my father’s life. If there was one thing I was always sure of growing up, it was that my father was proud of me. He never missed an opportunity to say, “Good job” or “Way to go,” and I think a large part of my self-esteem and self-confidence comes from those early experiences.
We hear so many stories of parents brimming with pride over their children’s accomplishments. Those are nothing new. But what about those times when the tables are turned? I can’t say enough about my mom and how proud I am of her strength in the wake of my father’s suicide; she’s truly been so amazing over the last 10 years. As for my father? Well, my proud moment came in 2001. After some 20 years, my father earned his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. It had been a tough and long road at times, as he could only take a couple classes at a time while he and my mom were raising a family and tending to my surgeries.
But he stuck with it, and I’ll never forget the look of pure joy and pride on his face as he walked across that stage in his cap and gown. He earned that diploma. He was proud. And we were all proud of him. Little did we know that he would be gone in less than two years. Maybe that’s why I’ve always held on to this memory so tightly. It’s one of the last good memories I have of us as a healthy, carefree family. I’m so glad that my father reached a goal that was so important to him. Another great part? My entire family — all four of us — graduated from Northern Illinois University…talk about keeping it in the family!!! xoxo