Hello, friends. I've been absent for over a year, for a number of reasons. My life has changed dramatically over the course of a year. Here's a quick update of things that have happened in 2014:
I accepted a new position as a Learning and Performance Consultant with my employer in April and started my new role in May. Not only was this a considerable promotion for me, but it also was the dream job which I had been working to achieve for nearly a year prior to receiving the offer. I was blessed to find a wonderful, intelligent and caring mentor who helped me position myself for an interview and subsequently a job offer. It is an understatement to say I love my job. I wake up with a smile on my face every morning and realize what a difference it makes when you are engaged in work that is meaningful and relevant. I have a dream job, dream boss and a dream team of co-workers. I couldn't be more grateful for the blessings I have received!
Along with this wonderful new beginning, there were also many endings. I separated from my spouse of twenty years in May. I will attest that marriages can, in fact, end gracefully with mutual respect and friendship. We are at peace and remain friends for the sake of our daughter, but also because we are both just good human beings at the core of our existence. A lot of people don't get this. They don't understand why we will continue to celebrate Christmas together, or vacation together for the sake of our child, so that she grows up understanding that though her parents are no longer married, and though they are no longer in love, they can treat each other with respect and dignity. At the end of the day, they love each other as human beings, and for what they were able to learn from one another. I don't expect everyone to get that. And that's okay.
There were other endings - one that was unbelievably tough for me. In August, my older sister passed away very unexpectedly, leaving three motherless sons and a grieving family. Her death brought into focus the fragility of life and how short our time is on earth. It made me resolve to live life fully, with gratitude each and every day. It made me resolve to embrace every relationship and to choose happiness and kindness above everything. I think about her often and I know her spirit is present.
In August, I was also accepted to the graduate program (MS in Instructional Design and Performance Technology) at Franklin University. I started the program and with two classes under my belt and a 4.0 average, I am very proud of my accomplishments. It isn't easy holding down a full time job, being a single parent, going to school and making the A's I should have gotten as an undergraduate student. But I am proof that it can be done. I was once told that I would never make it into graduate school and there was no point even trying with my lackluster undergraduate performance. I was told that no credible program would accept me. WRONG. Every person deserves a second chance. Everyone who falls deserves a chance to get up again and fly. Don't ever let the naysayers bring you down - if you listen to them long enough, you start to believe their negativity.
Shortly before Christmas, Alekha asked me to give her photos of the two of us together so she could make a handmade Christmas present for me. I struggled to find photos of the two of us together. There were countless photos I had taken of her alone, in my quest to document her life, and many of Alekha with her daddy. I then found the photo below of the two of us at her birthday party last summer. I realized I need to take more photos with her - so she remembers her childhood, in the Summer and Autumn of her own life, and she remembers that she had a mother who loved her wildly. The picture below is not perfect, but I love it - because in it, I see how much I love her, and how much I love being her mother. There is nothing more important, satisfying or meaningful to me than my love for her and the time we spend together.
I'm still in a whirlwind of activity, and will be for the next year and a half, but I wouldn't have my life any other way right now. I continue to make memories for and with my daughter, and above all, I strive to live my life with grace.
Happy 2015 to you, dear friend. Wishing you peace, love that knows no walls, and grace in everything you do. Let your light shine from within.