Warning: this is personal!
Wondering what’s going on in this photo? It’s my daughter Emma wearing a PhD-hat, creatively constructed to her by co-workers at Department of Plant and Environmental Science, in celebration of her completing her thesis on epigenetics and heritable defense mechanisms in plants.
By her side Jonathan, my son and her older brother. On her arm Thea, her 1-year old daughter, the adorable youngest of my four grandchildren. As you can imagine, my joy was reaching spiritual levels.
Not only for Emma’s academic achievement, which in itself is truly important, a milestone in her career and a significant contribution to science.
But for the work ethic and style of her as well as her brother: building a family and a home, raising 4 kids in total with amazing results (no, I’m not biased at all 😊) AND achieving personal growth, pursuing ambition and dreams, balancing Covid (argh!) and even – in Jonathans case – dealing with a nasty accident. They both have careers in industries known to consume every waking hour, science and retail; but they know their values and what’s important in life. This is the greatest achievement.
An aside: I was a 21-year old mother, and negative comments were frequent, acidy and unhelpful, attempting one thing only: to drive shame. You couldn’t imagine the crap I had to take, primarily from elder women. I only met Madeleine Albright later in life, but at the time I could have used her quote about the place in hell reserved for women not helping other women!
When the PhD-hat (with unspoken functionality, but it has a handle on one side?) was awarded to Emma yesterday my heart was singing – about everything, really! The choices I made, all the various coincidences, paths followed and not followed; here we are, and I am proud of my kids and HAPPY about life.
2022, out for you!!