By: Beatriz Craven, Guest Blogger
My dad gave me a card on my graduation day. I lit up upon opening it, eager to read his little scribbled handwriting. He shared some thoughts with me about my mom. She had been diagnosed with cancer two years into my degree. She passed before I could walk across the stage. For so many reasons, graduation day was a big day. My dad shared with me my mom's role as the caretaker and in many ways, the educator. He wanted me to know how proud she would be. How in a way, this was a testament to her. I began to wonder about how true this was. The countless hours and work this incredible woman had put into raising me and being a tremendous model with her fierce intellect, warmth, and spiritual resilience. She was my best friend and mentor. I began wondering as well about the many women who came before her. My grandmother for one had flown into town for my big day. Talk about a smart and incredibly strong woman.
Progress and encouragement among women immediately came to mind. It will surely take a while for me to get used to the title of “doctor,” but I have to admit it feels really nice to carry this title as a woman. I am tickled beyond belief to think of our next wedding invite and how it will be addressed: Dr. and Mr. S Craven. I light up at my husband and proclaim my excitement about how far things have come. “That could mean so many things!” I beam. “Maybe you're married to a brilliant woman. Or maybe it's your brilliant male partner! The possibilities!” He was slightly less amused, but I find the progress to be thrilling and he couldn’t be more proud of me. I'm sure I should feel good about my accomplishments, but what makes me feel the happiest is to have the freedom to design my life as I choose and see how much these accomplishments mean to the generations before me.
I am so thankful for the amazing models I have had in my life. Male and female. And I am so thankful for the incredible way they have nurtured and stimulated my own growth as a young, Hispanic female. Reminding me every step of the way that intelligence is beautiful. Kindness is beautiful. Progress is beautiful. And most importantly, to PASS IT ON. Hopefully at some point next week or next year I'll realize that this isn't a dream and that I have in fact overcome this tremendously challenging time in my life. What I am certain of, however, is that the first thing I want to share with my daughter when she enters this world is that intelligence is beautiful. Kindness is beautiful. Progress is beautiful. SHE is beautiful and capable of doing anything she puts her mind to.
Thanks for everything, Mom. I Love you.
Beatriz completed her PhD in Counseling Psychology. She works with college students at Sam Houston State University and finds incredible meaning in her work as a therapist. She is an avid life enthusiast, loving wife, and movie fanatic.
Featured image courtesy Beatriz Craven