It's time to get a little sappy and serious y'all. Sorry.
My cousin, Hero is about 5 years younger than I am, and she and I have a lot in common - we're both a little on the volatile side, we have similar ideas of how people should live (as in how often you should do the dishes and what it means to do laundry), we are both crazy loyal to our friends and love our family, and we both had a not so great childhood.
I think Hero would probably agree with the way I like to describe my childhood,
A lot of people had it worse, but it should have been better.
She moved in with us during high school, mostly because I was feeling pushy one day, and after high school she went to the community college nearby.
She was doing really well, working, going to class and not a whole lot of partying (which is unnatural, but, hey). And then she came up pregnant.
She moved back home with her dad and took her boyfriend with her and transfered everything to the Community College of BFE.
And had the most gorgeous daughter, Cassidy.
And you know, she's an amazing mother. She plays with her, takes good care of her, disciplines her. I have no idea where she learned it, because she certainly didn't have a good model growing up, but that girl is amazing.
Hero graduated with her bachelor's degree yesterday from Sam Houston State.
I want to say I'm proud of her, but for some reason that sounds condescending coming from me, little Ms. No Degree.
I think that it would be more accurate to say that I'm in awe of her.
She graduated from college in 5 years.
With a child.
While working. And paying bills. And putting up with bullshit.
We have other cousins and family members with college degrees, she's not the first. And I'm not belittling anyone who went to college, but Amara and Mrs. #2 didn't work through college at all. And #1, #2, and #3 may have worked through college, but they didn't have a child and they could have gone back home to the parents whenever they wanted.
Plus, there are people on every corner and in every walk of life who use childhood's like Hero had as excuses for being assholes, and for not being able to do anything productive, and I'm not sure that it even occurred to her that it's an option.
I'm in awe.
Also, I'm ashamed.
Because I couldn't do it.
I couldn't do it before my first marriage because I was an idiot. And I couldn't do it while I was married to Perry because he wouldn't have supported me and he truly made me feel like an imbecile, plus he would have seen an affair in every classroom.
And now, there's the bills and Bean's health and all these other things that make me feel like I shouldn't.
When I think that maybe the real issue is that I'm terrified I'll fail.
But Hero kind of makes me feel like I can. Not because if she can do it, then I can do it better, but because it makes me realize that the personality traits that she has that made it possible for her to finish, are traits that we share.
Impatience - we don't like to wait for someone else to do something, we'll just do it our selves.
Stubbornness - we will make it work this way dammit!!
So really, the only thing Hero's got on me is bravery, and that she has in spades.
I love you Hero and you are mine.