This is a long one, so bear with me =)
As I near my graduation date I find myself reflecting on the journey that led me here. There are a number of people I need to recognize for their help along this (sometimes rocky) path.
Obviously Ryan is first and foremost on that list. Without him I wouldn’t have written a good application letter, and frankly I probably wouldn’t have even made the deadline for application. But beyond that he has been there through every second of my craziness. Waiting until the last minute to write a paper and vowing to never wait that long again. Only to wait that long again and start the whole process over. He has listened to endless amounts of my “venting” when someone did something irritating or stupid. He has held me when I cried, and celebrated all my successes. I am always thankful for him, and I will be so proud to become his wife.
Secondly is my mom. She is the greatest woman I know. I fight back tears every time I think of what she has done for me, what she has sacrificed, and all the hard work she put in to make my childhood what it was. Her life was not an easy one. She and I have scaled more mountains than I wish to count, but we made it to the top of every damn one! She taught me what it means to be strong and kind. She generously passed along her wonderful sense of humor. She spent my entire childhood encouraging me to do the best I could and letting me know that she would be there every step of the way no matter what path I picked. She gave me room to grow even when it killed her to see me leave. And she was always there with open arms when I came back home.
One of the best things the social work program has given me is a better understanding of my own life. I am now able to look back on my journey and see what was happening and what could have happened. My mom was and is a rock in my life, unwavering in her love and support. There is nothing I can ever do to thank her for what she has given me, but I spend every second doing what I can to make her proud.
For every aspect of myself that I know came from my mom, there is another one that certainly came from my dad. To my dad, I thank you for (unintentionally) teaching me how to procrastinate like a pro. For all the craziness I wouldn’t have it any other way! I thank you for always teaching me to look beyond my little town. Without your influence I would not have gone all the places I have. For your emphasis on common sense, to get me through this big bad world. I thank you for teaching me the value of doing nothing. Sometime the soul, the body, and the brain just need a break. Most importantly, I want to thank you for showing me what a good man is. Because of your example I found the man of my dreams who is as good to me as you were. I thank you for being so very open-minded in such a small town. You taught me to listen to other people and accept them for who they are and I love you so very much for that.
KCAVP. I learned so much from my colleagues at this wonderful organization. Beth, thank you for taking me on as an intern. I appreciate the opportunity you gave me, as well as your continued support and concern. You were one of the best supervisors I have had, and KCAVP will miss you when you are gone. Thank you also for being such a crazy awesome knitter and for teaching me to take it a little less seriously. Afterall, if you mess up, you can just take the stitches out. Lindsey, thank you for keeping me company in the front of the office. Thank you for making me laugh, and making work just a little more interesting. And of course making up combo words that will annoy Ryan! Santi, thank you for being an amazing Zebra. I do not know what we, as horses, would do without you. Thank you for being a brilliant artist and for using you talent to create some of the funniest cartoons I have ever seen! Diane, thank you for being such a compassionate person. I learned a lot from you whether you knew you were teaching or not.
To all of you thank you for introducing me to Vietnamese food! Thank you for taking time to celebrate new beginnings and birthdays of all staff! The connections I made with you all mean the world to me. Thank you for being one of the craziest and funniest (and possibly most inappropriate) offices ever! You are all wonderful!
When Ryan and I first moved to Kansas City we were in a rough place. I was out of work, and we had spent most of our money to make the move. This meant I had a lot of time on my hands and not a lot to do with myself. Starting at Hallmark really saved my sanity. No one with a college degree really wants to be forced back into retail, but I could not have asked for a better place. My Hallmark ladies mean the world to me. It is rare to find a job where everyone gets along as well as we did.
Alicia, even though most of the new girls were terrified of you, you quickly became one of my best friends. Thank you for being my drinking buddy and shopping partner. For making slow Sundays a little bit better.
Graduate School has been a bumpy ride, I have complained about more than I would like to admit. But at the end I would not change anything. Each new day is a day to learn and grow. How displeased I may have been with this or with that is moot now. I have learned so much from so many great people. As of May 4th I will be a Master Social Worker! That is amazing! I am proud of myself and of all the people that have come with me and kept me company along this road.
I am so excited for the future! World, bring it on. I am ready for you! <3