It's been a long, long time coming.
I remember this kid... the first time I laid eyes on him, he was moving into my house. He was 17, in trouble, and his mother didn't know what to do with him anymore. She asked Darling Man if he could come and live with him.
The problem was, Darling Man had just moved in with me. He'd been there a month and we were still new enough that he didn't know how having his troubled 17 year old son come live with us would affect US.
Being the oldest and only girl in a family of six children, I knew about teenaged boys. And I felt pretty confident that I could handle whatever came our way. I told Darling Man to bring him on down.
There were days when it worked and days when it didn't, but overall, I think things went pretty well.
At the time, we were living way out of town in a two-bedroom mobile home sitting on two acres of field. There wasn't anything nearby, so we made our own entertainment. My favorite memory of those days was the three of us sitting on the back deck playing Scrabble. I love Scrabble and am pretty good at it - but KM beat both me and Darling Man repeatedly. And we made up a game for when the game was over. As words were made, we'd write them down and at the end of the game, we each had to write a story using the words we'd made in the order they were written down. Lots of times, we were rolling around on the floor crying with laughter at the ridiculous stories we'd come up with.
It wasn't all rosy though. We moved into town so KM would have access to school. Unfortunately, he also had access to questionable friends and bad habits. He was still young enough to think it was cool to drink or smoke a little (sometimes a lot). He didn't do well in school. He got and lost several jobs. It was frustrating because this "kid" was so damned smart! He was well read and could really think - which is a rarity these days. His ideas were amazing! But his friends and his "hobbies" were bringing him down.
We moved to the country again, and after a series of bad decisions, I told DM that he had to go. That if he didn't, I would. KM surprised us again and joined the Army.
While in the Army, he met his wife P. They got married and had a daughter. KM got out of the Army and was delivering pizza while going to school and taking care of the baby. Then P got orders to go to Afghanistan. This was a very bad idea. With the help of a senator, she managed to be discharged before having to ship out. This was good - and bad. The problem was that the unemployment rate where they'd been stationed was very, very high - so being the people that we are, we invited them to come to live with us for a few months until they got back on their feet. It took 9 months for them to move out again, but he had a job delivering pizza and she signed on with a hobby store.
This went on for years, and it really was looking like pizza delivery might become KM's career, which was really sad as we all knew he was capable of doing so much more. We all were so happy when he announced that he was going back to school and taking a 2-year degree to become a registered nurse. Luckily, a lot of his credits from before transferred and before we knew it, he was hitting the books and sporting scrubs.
Those two years flew by and finally the day came this past week when he and his class graduated.
His mom flew in from the west coast to witness this huge accomplishment. She, more than the rest of us, could appreciate this as she is also a nurse/midwife and schooling was a continuous process in her life. We all filed in to the auditorium, the kids so excited they were practically bouncing in their seats. Z was thrilled for his brother and Kylee was so happy!
When it was all over, he and his ex-wife exchanged a few words of pride in their son before we all filed out into the outer hallway for pictures.
KM's wife P was so thrilled. This has been a long time coming, and they've both made sacrifices to make it happen!
He's still got to pass the state boards before he can officially work as an RN, but he's already got a job at the hospital waiting for him. That will either happen next week or in January as they only test so many people at a time and his class is much bigger than the testing group. I have every faith that he will pass with flying colors and will start his career with a bang!
Congratulations to my stepson. I always hoped this day would come!