It was a really nice night. The best part? My family was there.

Little things I want to remember:

-walking alone toward the Convention Center, entering the elevator, cap and gown in hand. Two friendly women congratulated me. “What are you graduating as?!” – “An R.N.” – “Good for you! Remember our faces if we’re ever sick, okay? What a great profession.” Smiling, walking out of the elevator, ready to burst into tears. R.N. Finally.

-looking for other nursing students in their white gowns. Smiling, talking about the future, lining up alphabetically. Tallest and shortest nursing students in consecutive line. (Note: I’m not the former.) Selfishly glad because it will make it easy for my family to find me.

-seeing friends who have walked similar journeys. A knowing little smile.

-the sound of the band as we lined up to enter the ballroom. Choking up hearing those first few notes.

-walking in and looking for my family. Seeing those three little blond heads and the rest of my family standing behind them. Huge smiles on their faces. Seeing Paul’s big, big grin, his blue eyes happy, big hand waving at me. My Mom’s choked-up smile and her camera flashing. The look on my Dad’s face, his hand high. All 4 of my sisters lined up rooting for me. Tears starting. I love them.

-enjoying the words spoken, the graduates ranging in age from 19-84. Listening to some surprisingly good and succinct speeches. Savoring the moment.

-standing to wait in line for the diploma, looking for my family again. Thinking of what it took to get here. Praying a quiet prayer of thankfulness. Feeling so happy, so full. Paul with the camera, flowers in hand, craning his neck to see. Funny what crosses your mind in short spurts at a time like that. Thinking of best-laid plans and obstacles. 2011 changing to 2012. Thinking of Paul’s support, all the little things that matter. Ironed scrubs, meals, notes, texts, phone calls. His longstanding patience, endurance. Knowing I wouldn’t be standing there if it weren’t for him. Watching Dad walk over to the side to see where I would walk past. Giving him a look, him returning it. Fathers and daughters. Thinking of what he’s told me over the past few years, of words fitly spoken. Feeling the weight of what they mean right then. Remembering the harder things are worth it. Mom peeking over someone in front of her, teary smile on her face. Thinking of her support and phone calls, her willingness to take sick grand kids so I wouldn’t miss school, her patience with my sometimes teary phone calls, her genuine interest in my clinical days. Thinking of our walk the other day. My sisters and their support. Seeing Kara up front with camera at the ready. Colleen waving at me. Katie with a huge smile. Seeing Minna here, in Connecticut. Seeing in their eyes that they love me. I am so lucky to have my sisters. So happy they came. Noticing Nora on her tippy toes. Joel with his iPod camera, Connor looking up at me with those smiling eyes. Those are my kids! Huge grin.

-hearing them call my name. Hearing my family. Goosebumps. Shaking hands, holding the diploma. Getting stopped by Joan, special teacher who is retiring. Big hug.

-looking out at all the instructors in their gowns, searching for Cathy, a mentor and adviser. Catch her attention. She gives a big smile. Big wave. Thumbs up. Happy for that little moment.

-walking out, finding Paul. Hugs. Flowers. Pictures. Tears. Thank yous. I love you. Mom and Dad. 5 sisters. My little family, seeing all three of the kids. Joel’s big smile, Connor’s head leaning on my arm, Nora’s tears. So, so happy. So glad I went, after all. So thankful for my faith, for family, for friends, for perseverance. So glad I did this hard thing, by the help of so many.



 “All life lessons are not learned at college,’ she thought. Life teaches them everywhere.”
- L.M. Montgomery, from Anne of the Island


May 25, 2012 - 12:40 pm

Jody - Betsy, so very happy for you, you have worked so hard you should be very proud of yourself remember all things are possible with the Lord, you have a wonderful family and i am sure you have felt their support and love all the way. Congratulatons!

May 25, 2012 - 4:11 pm

Amanda - Congrats Betsy!!!! It feels good, eh? Soo happy for you!!

May 25, 2012 - 5:13 pm

Brad Eisenmann - Congratulations, Betsy! Some nice family shots–good to see your dad in a few; he looks relaxed and quite pleased; as he should be. Blessings to you all.

May 25, 2012 - 8:42 pm

Elizabeth - Congratulations!! Welcome to the world of nursing :)

May 25, 2012 - 11:16 pm

A Anne - Oh Betsy you really did it! Such a long and winding road… I am so happy for you and your family. You will make a great RN.

May 26, 2012 - 8:59 pm

Sherry - Betsy! You weathered the storm and kept your eye on the goal. Being a mom of 3, and all of the other jobs you have, you have accomplished much! Congratulations Betsy!

May 27, 2012 - 12:31 am

Donna - Congratulations, Betsy! Great pictures. You have worked very hard and must be so excited to have graduated now. You’ll make a great nurse. God’s blessings to you and your dear family.
P.S. I hate to say it but you look like a shrimp behind that huge guy in the first picture!!! I know the feeling!!

May 27, 2012 - 6:54 am

Joyful Reflections Photography - Congratulations Betsy! You did it!! You’re an amazing women to be able to manage a family, your photography business and school all at the same time. Quite the accomplishment!

Now take some time for yourself…relax and enjoy the things you like best!

May 27, 2012 - 4:42 pm

Andrea - Congrats on your graduation Betsy! What a wonderful feeling to be done!:)

May 28, 2012 - 1:29 am

Julie - I had to come back and reread this tonight. I needed the encouragement. Its 1:28 am and I am just beginning to see the halfway point of my project completed. I’m so very tired and I want to quit. But I know I can’t. I am savoring your words “Remembering the harder things are worth it”. Such sweet encouragement. So wonderful to see you today! Love you bunches…

May 28, 2012 - 6:30 pm

Dorothy - Bets:
Congratulations on a job well done! I’m sure it feels so good to be done, but a little bittersweet at the same time, as you have really enjoyed all of the learning. But trust me, the learning has just begun.
Love you much!

May 29, 2012 - 3:13 pm

Jennifer - Congratulations Betsy!!

May 29, 2012 - 9:28 pm

Julie Schmidt - Well…look at YOU, Betsy!!!! I didn’t realize you were graduating already!!! Made me cry reading your post. What a Wonder Woman you are!! Congratulations!!! I’m so excited for you and your family. I’m sure you will make a wonderful nurse!

I admire your work as a photographer and blogger.

God bless you!

May 31, 2012 - 3:27 pm

Rita Menold - Betsy – Congratulations on becoming an RN! I had tears in my eyes reading your post! I love reading your blog – Blessings to you and your family.

May 31, 2012 - 10:06 pm

Janelle - Congrats!! Your words brought tears to my eyes, what a special moment in your life. After working in a similar field for 16 years, I am so very thankful for my job. Now you can dig in and enjoy what you worked so hard to accomplish!!

June 11, 2012 - 12:18 am

Donna Knoblock - Betsy, My sister Jill tells me what a wonderful photographer you are so every once in awhile I like to look at your blog…I love how you put your heart into the pictures! Congratulations on becoming a RN!

July 15, 2012 - 5:46 pm

Cathy - Congratulations Betsy Hany RN! I am so very proud of you! Thank you for sharing your graduation day and family! I have tears in my eyes reading all the precious moments of celebration. Your journey was not without obstacles but your perseverance, faith, family and love made your dream come true. I am blessed to have met you and been a small part in your dream. I will forever remember you as you have touched my life as well. I wish you all the best in your career! Please keep in touch!

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