Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Her Aim is True

I’ll be away for the next few days, in North Carolina, to visit my family and to attend my sister’s M.Ed. graduation. This higher degree is impressive by any standards, but all the more so because my sister managed the achievement while a) going through a rather terrible divorce (is there any other kind?) b) taking care of 2 tiny girls and c) working full time. Of course, she couldn’t have done it without the constant support of my parents with whom she lived, with the children, while she got her life together after her marriage ended. My parents were the extra hands and feet (and wheels) – integral to cooking, pick-up, homework, babysitting and providing love and care for 3 kids (let’s not except my sister) still whirling from emotional whiplash.

The end of a marriage is a loss even to those on its periphery. It’s the end of innocence, of long-held (but inaccurate) perspectives, the death of day-to-day relatedness and trust. Many people grieved my sister’s “failed marriage”, non-functional as it was. It’s not for me to publicly discuss the father of my nieces, but my former BIL worked masterfully to make a hard situation that much harder – on this, we have the corroboration of the courts. All I can say is, till you’ve seen someone scrape herself off the floor and scratch her way independence, it’s challenging to imagine the scene. Alas, it’s an effective way to reframe “failed marriage” as “successful self-determination” – which has a nice ring to it, you have to admit.

My sister has always cherished children – what they symbolize and who they are. She’s one of those people beloved by kids. She has a sunny smile and a friendly voice. She listens and cares. She wants – expects – her students to reach their potential, which I'm sure they do.

As for her own children, as they grow and achieve their many life goals, they’ll continue to look to their mother as a force for positive change, a strong, sensitive mentor – someone whose voice is credible during the rough times because she’s been there and she didn’t give up. After all, what better gift can we give our children than to be our own best selves?

This post is to congratulate my sister on a life reclaimed: To Allison – and to her grand success!

(Please feel free to leave a comment - which I'm sure she'd love...)


  1. wow!!I love your writing!!! Congratulation to your sister for graduation, alos congratulatin to you and especially your parents, because you all have a role in here success!!!
    I'mm all admiration for your family!!!!

  2. Allison, you are a total star. Never let anyone convince you otherwise.

  3. Congratulations to her! She truly has made an amazing achievment and she should be very proud! Many cheers to your sis!

  4. Congratulations, Allison! I hope you enjoy a wonderful new career . . .

  5. A really touching post. Allison should be so proud of herself. And your nieces are lucky to have such a wonderful role model.
    Have a fantastic trip and time with your family!!!
    p.s. I dreamt about Elvis Costello last night.

  6. Wawww, you just made me shed some tears...I wish her all the best, and big congratulations to her

  7. Fantastic post K. I hope your sister has as much admiration, respect and love for you as you do her. Congrats to her for turning her life around and to the rest of the family for their p.s. have a great time xx

  8. Wonderful congrats to your sister! The emergence of joy and success from bound pain is always a reason for celebration.

    I'll actually be in LA for the first time this weekend with my brother. Nothing as dramatic; we'll probably just drink beer and talk about how we should go to Vegas.

  9. Great post. So poignant. Congratulations to Allison and her independence.

    Women are so strong. To achieve her degree in the face of adversity is inspiring.

  10. allison - congrats! and thanks for sharing this story, kristin :) as someone who's currently in an advanced-degree program and currently working through a rough patch, it's inspiring to hear how someone else has accomplished something similar under more challenging circumstances.

  11. What a beautiful post, truly touching. It really is incredible what us fragile humans can make it through with loving family and friends by our side. Congratulations to your sister on all her continued successes, including her new, hard-won independence.

    xx Kit

  12. All the best, Allison! You sound like a star.

    A xx

  13. Many congratulations - it is a hard thing to achieve I know!

  14. Aren't sister's the BEST? Congrats to her accomplishment. Enjoy NC (I love the beach there).

  15. THank you again, everyone, for your beautiful comments. My sister has not had a chance to go near a computer in days - celebrations plus burn out! But I have told her about your well-wishes and she loved them, and will comment as soon as she's back in the swing.

    Lamia: What a lovely compliment, thank you.

    Bel: Very strange coincidence!

    Fab: Thank you. We have had a lovely time and, as my post tomorrow will detail, I have been delayed in Charlotte an extra day. So it's more fun still!

    Ricky: Hope you had a great time!

    Kate: I know you've been on the MA rollercoaster. I think you can relate to the relief of it being over :-)

    Stacy: Sisters are the best. I'm in Charlotte so not near the beach. But that's ok - the weather is so good I can't really be upset.

  16. A lovely and loving tribute. All my congratulations Allison, on your incredible achievements.

  17. Thank you Kristin... and thank you to all of you for your kind words. The last three years have definitely been a journey. While I know I worked extremely hard to achieve my goals, I could not have done any of it without the support of my family. I am very lucky.
    Fab: I do respect, admire, and love my sister so very much. She is an incredible person. I look up to her and wish that she lived next door so that we could share in each other every day.
    Once again, thank you xo