Monday, 25 May 2009

New York Surprise!

The New Yankee Stadium

Before the crowds filled it all in!A wee bit o' Great Britain in Yankee Stadium!

Two weeks ago, Elizabeth surprised me with a ticket to go to New York City to see her graduate last week.
Commencement from New York University, held in Yankee Stadium, in front of thousands of people, with Hillary Clinton speaking, was something I did not want to miss!
So naturally, I was in a state as I rushed about preparing for the trip on one day's notice!

I am not a fan of flying. It is a necessary evil, especially for my family and me, because to see each other, someone must board a plane.
But in this instance, I didn't have much time to dwell on it and get all sorts of worried about it, so I was off in a blink of an eye and headed to New York.

Elizabeth earned her Bachelors' Degree two years ago, so I was not unfamiliar with such ceremonies. But this graduation was a very special one. Elizabeth has not had an easy time of it, earning this degree from the renowned New York University.

To begin with, it was against all odds that she made the short list for acceptance to the university in the first place. Her grades were above average, but she had no ready cash to pay the tuition costs and university fees, and the competition to gain acceptance is fierce.
But she was among a selected few to be invited to her Masters' Degree program, in American Politics, two years ago.
We were excited and thrilled for her when she made it, not realising what the next years were to bring.

As she prepared to leave Buffalo for the big city of New York, she was leaving family, friends, and even her pets behind. And she knew no one in New York City.

Upon arrival she discovered that the university had no available housing, so she was literally homeless.
While she struggled to find a place to live and a job to support herself, she had adjustments in virtually everything in her life, all while beginning her studies and learning to find her way around New York.
Eventually she found a home with a fellow student, and remained there for a bit, but things weren't working out.

She had a car and discovered just how difficult it is to live in New York and own a car, with parking problems, tolls for roads and bridges, etc.
She was working a full time management job at a large supermarket in New Jersey, Wegmans, all while commuting to school in New York, and living in Brooklyn.

Added to her burdens was envy. She was envious of the other students she met at NYU who were enjoying their studies stress-free. They were from privileged backgrounds and mom and dad were paying for them to attend. They had social lives and didn't work to support themselves. It was difficult for her not to be able to join in and have fun at university. For her, school was all work and no play. The contrast between her life and the lives of her peers was another factor in the weakening of her spirit. She wanted their life - if only for a week to take some pressure off of her.

Things were all falling apart and she wanted to quit and return to Buffalo. Elizabeth would call me in tears and wanting nothing but to go 'home'.
Many times it was compassion and a listening ear and a kind word to get her through it.
But sometimes it required 'tough love' and some harsh reminders of what life would be if she gave up and returned to Buffalo.

She would owe thousands of dollars in student loans with no way to pay it back and no degree to show for her money and time spent. Something had to give.
She needed a helping hand - a friend - and someone who believed in her, other than her mom.
And she found him: Joe.

Joe offered compassion, tenderness, his family, friends, and his home to Elizabeth.
His generosity enabled her to remain in New York without rent; just sharing some household expenses. She switched jobs to avoid the cost of commuting, and found a job with her former employer in political advocacy, that she could work from home.
She gave up her costly car and paid off all of her bills.
Elizabeth spoke with her college advisor and cut down the hours of classes she took each semester. She knew it would extend the time it would take to complete her degree program, but it would mean she would have less stress and she would be able to complete the program.

So the New York surprise was really no surprise at all: Elizabeth is a strong, talented, intelligent, and beautiful young woman who has made it through adversity and come out of it the better for it. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

Although battle scars may be in place, she can be proud that she remained constant and completed her program. Her life is forever changed for the better. And she has earned every bit of that degree while securing a better position as her journey through life begins.

She has found a true partner who has shared some of her life, has supported her and loved her, and who will soon become her husband. We love him and welcome him into our little family. And we thank him for helping our daughter during a time she needed a friend and someone to love and support her. Now if only we could get him to be a Buffalo Sabres fan . . .

Congratulations to our beautiful girl!
We couldn't be more proud of you.

Mom, Jim, Jon and Katie


LiLi M. said...

ah what a trip. You must be so proud of your daughter! Congrats to her! Good to hear that the prince on the white horse still exist, I thought I had captured the last one lol! Have a great day!

Debbie said...

You must be bursting with pride Maggie .... what a lovely story and well done to Elizabeth .... it just goes to prove that if you want something enough you will get it through hard work and determination and sounds like your daughter has plenty of both.

Eli said...

I've been thinking about you Maggie, enjoying your time back home. What a wonderful trip full of happy memories to treaure. Well done Elizabeth for working hard and seeing it through to the end. What a lovely man she has found who supported her so well. She's had dificult roads to travel over the years and I think of a line form a Don McLean song "all roads lead to where we're at".

Anonymous said...

What an incredible story. I can easily see why you are so proud of her. I can bareky imagine having to go through all she did. What a super hard worker she is! And what a wonderful mom you must have been to bring your daughter up with such a work ethic and such determination. Congratulations to you all!!!

paperhill said...

maggie, you brought tears to my eyes. what a wonderful accomplishment for her, you must be so proud! i'm so happy she found someone to love & support her. i hope you are well, i saw steven today when i visited his shop. he told me he was sending you pennies :)

Anonymous said...

hiya, I have an award for you over on my blog!

Elizabeth Graczyk said...

Awww such a sweet Mommy! I must credit this achievement, in part, to you :) It was quite a journey, but I am glad it is finally over. The Prince on the white horse does exist, and I am so lucky to have found him.

Now, off to use that pricey little degree :) back to work! XOXO

PS - I just updated the Brooklyn Clothesline!! Go look!

My Mother's Garden said...

Hi! Come visit me...I left a gift on my blog for you. I hope it brings a smile to your face!

Looks like a fairy tale! Sounds like a great trip!
~ Karrita

natalie jo said...

Oh Maggie what a story and what strong women you BOTH are! I can only imagine how painful all that "tough love" was to administer when your child is in tears. I don't know if I wouldn't have caved and brought her home myself.

And what about that knight in shining armor? Not only is he handsome, but what a wonderful name to boot!

natalie JO!!!!