My husband, Scott, graduates with his Masters in Social Work from the University of Chicago this weekend. We're attending the hooding ceremony tonight with his dad and stepmom and Gilda, and the reception post-graduation tomorrow. We're missing the graduation ceremony proper because Gilda has "The Big Show" at school, and watching 4 year olds Salsa is more entertaining than watching adults walk slowly. However...
This has been over three years in the making. Scott lost his job in advertising, an area in which he never intended to stay. But the money and the stability and acting blah blah blah like so many of us, and 10 years later he was still doing it. Then it was gone. He got offers to go back to old firms, and I begged him not to return to something that made him miserable. So he became a stay at home dad with Gilda for the first 18 months of her life. During that time, he decided what he wanted to do with his life in his new roles as a father and as a sober man. In case that wasn't enough, he applied to graduate schools to begin the journey to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He wanted to help people. He still does.
He went part time to make OUR lives easier, and that meant this journey would be three years instead of two.
During that time, his internships were hard. I mean, are-you-kidding-me hard. First up, The Night Ministry. He stood outside during the Polar Vortex to help people in need. He also organized a sock drive because, goddammit, it's cold outside. This is a van set up outdoors to assist people without anywhere else to turn, and it's often LGBTQ youth. They provide health care, food, and human connection in the model of harm reduction. It's vital, it's compassionate, and it's nothing like any other program.
|No, YOU'RE cold.|
I make this joke a lot, but it's a good summary of where our lives were headed by this point. We were going in two very different directions, but also becoming more of who we really are as people (and therefore coming closer together at the same time). Here's that summary.
Scott: A girl at the shelter went to jail for strangling another girl to death over a pair of sneakers.
Me: I auditioned to be a singing rat today. I don't think I got it.
All the while, he was maintaining his sobriety and helping raise the happiest little girl on the planet.
He then got the internship at Gateway, where he is currently a full time counselor. He was leading therapy sessions as an intern, and getting a good hard look at what the future would bring in his career. He was exhausted, but so happy.
Did I mention he was still getting all A's?
During this time, we have lost dear friends. Dear friends have lost their sweet baby boy. His family went through several emotional upheavals and illnesses. He traveled out to California to be with his mother after heart surgery. And, in November of last year, we lost her. It's not like the universe gives you a goddamned break while you're busy. That's not how life works.
He took some time off after that, about a couple of weeks. He then tried to dive back in with a quiz. Like you do.
He continued to excel at his job and in school.
I also did two summer shows back to back and we moved. Somehow, we're still married.
I know. I'm rambling and I'm making my husband sound like an unearthly being. He's very human, I promise. We bicker and we laugh and we had our kid in our bed for so long, we wondered if we were ever going to be alone together again. Our house gets messy as hell, we're poor as fuck, and we've both put on grad school weight. Whatever.
He finished with his excellent grades, his proud family, his sobriety, and our marriage in tact.
As of tomorrow, he has a Masters in Social Work, and he is a graduate of the SSA program. I stand in awe of this man. I have never been so proud of anyone as I am of him (except MAYbe when Gilda started walking or using the potty...I'm not a monster), and I have never felt so fortunate to be on a journey with someone and watch them truly become who they were meant to be.
It's never too late, and it isn't out of reach. Whatever it is, go. Go after it.
Happy Graduation, my love.