Oh, Happy Day!

Today, eleven years after he started, Ben completed his third degree from Doane College. In fact, I think it is quite possible that he is the first person to get a degree from each of the school’s three campuses (Crete – Undergrad; Lincoln – Curriculum and Instruction; Grand Island – Educational Leadership). In other words, he is a Tiger to the core and we couldn’t be more proud of him.

Today has been a long time coming and we are happy about it for so many reasons. For one, Ben has really enjoyed his latest degree program and is walking away from this experience with a wealth of knowledge. I watched him engage and work so intently on school issues with these classes; he is a better educator because of them. He also gained some great friendships and colleagues from the cadre he has been working with for the last two years and I know some of these people will be part of his life for years and years to come. Above all, for me anyway, is the fact that now Ben can finally get a bit of a break from taking so many classes. I have been more than happy to support him in his endeavors, but I can’t pretend that I’m not just a wee bit excited about having more of his time and attention for us now that his classes are all done.

Even though both kids appear to be coming down with colds (again!), we obviously made the trek to Crete today to witness Ben’s graduation and hooding ceremony. He’s been at State Track in Omaha the last two days, and when I talked to him on the phone last night about Harrison’s sniffles, he told me it wasn’t a big deal if we came to the ceremony or not. ‘Scuse me?! Not a big deal?! First off, we didn’t go to his first Masters graduation three years ago when I was preggers with HD. Secondly, this one has been such a part of our life the last few years that I begged to differ on the bigness of its dealness. And because I’m a supportive (and ever-so-slightly stubborn) wifey, by golly, we made it!

It was windy and chillier than expected, which is probably not going to help the colds situation for anyone, but fortunately I had lots of help from the grandparents for getting through graduation.

I am so glad that the four people who have loved and supported us through all of this were there today, and I’m also glad I didn’t have to entertain/wrangle my children by myself in such a large crowd! It also gave me the freedom to walk around to get pictures and see the actual hooding since our seats were waaaaaaay in a back corner.

We got situated just in time to go find Ben during the processional. Harrison was thrilled to see Daddy for the first time since Friday morning. I, too, was thrilled, but also a bit emotional. Part of it is Doane. Being there again for a graduation is special. Most of it, though, is Ben. For as stressed and stretched thin as we’ve been lately, it melted my heart a bit to see him smile and wave at us as he walked by with the other graduates. He is, I think, as proud of us as we are of him.

Watching his hood going on was another great moment because it really solidified the fact that he put in all the work and now has even more options as he continues his career in education. The passion and ideas in that man’s brain will take him (and us) amazing places, I think.

Because I was taking pictures, I found out later that my mom and Harrison, who had gone on a couple little walks during the ceremony, ended up down near the front in time to see Ben receive his diploma. Upon seeing this, Harrison proudly declared, “Daddy Wins!” I couldn’t agree more, Honey!

And what winner doesn’t need a high five on his way by during the recessional?

Or a big hug when it is all said and done?

Yes, yes, yes. We are so happy and grateful on this day.

For learning. For love. For each other.

Now, of course this all comes with a teensy bit of competitive salt. Ben’s now teasing me that he has one more degree than I do. He can pile up as many Master’s Degrees as he likes; until he gets a Ph.D., we’re still even in my books! But maybe that’s why I teach English and he teaches math!  

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