I was in the hospital and had just had our last child, our only girl. I was in the middle of my dissertation as well. I decided I was going to quit and become a midwife. You fussed at me in the hospital about not letting me quit. You yelled at me and said, “Baby, my job is to protect you and I cannot let you quit.” I yelled at you that you are nothing but a dream killer and you sat there and took it. What if you’d let me quit? What if you just sat back and let me make probably the worst decision of my life? That wasn’t the only time where I threatened to quit and you fought for me to keep pushing. The journey was so hard babe but you stood by me. You even started reading Classics with me so I had someone to talk about it with. I love your brilliance, a scholar in your own right. A different field of math, science and engineering, but I remember you telling me to practice defending my passion to you so that I could always fight for this passion. Your brilliant mind came up with so many points for me to argue and it prepared me to stand strong on what I believed. I went through such loneliness and discouragement in academia, but at home your warmth healed my heart. I felt like academia would never accept me because those professors in the university gave me such a hard time.
When I graduated, we came home that night. We got down on our knees and thanked God and then my strong rock who rarely shows such deep emotion, you cried for me. You literally wept and kept saying, “Babe you did it! I can’t believe you made it out!” Then I cried too. 12 years. That’s how long it took. 12 years of an advisor literally refusing to help me through my program because he did not like my topic. 12 years of another professor I worked with as a GA berating me openly in his class telling his students that my topic and passion of Blacks in classical study was irrelevant. 12 years of walking the halls and holding back tears as I watched other doctoral students joining research projects and opportunities that were not open to me because I was “that girl so into classics.” 12 years of an advisor having me take double the amount of classes I needed to start my dissertation before another professor not in my program pulling me aside and warning me that “they” didn’t want me to get out. 12 years of showing up on campus and someone saying, “oh you’re still here?” Dang right I’m still here and ain’t going anywhere until I get that degree. 12 years of being told by professors that I was not PhD material. 12 years of pure darkness, but you were my light through it all. I kept silent about it for fear of NEVER getting out, but at home you were my sounding board and my comfort. You carried me through until God led me to the beautiful faculty who saw value in what I was researching and they got me through. To them also I will eternally be grateful.
It was an awful, hellish time. But you never left my side. You celebrated with me even when our marriage went through a season where the stress of it all caused me to grow cold. You still reached for me when I was becoming hard with bitterness from the journey. Each milestone you gave me something to show that you were proud of me. Your words of wisdom, your hugs, your arms wrapped around me when I would cry at night, your voice of reason when I thought I was losing my mind, you baby got me to this point. You cooked, bathed kids, played with kids, even took off work so I could write. You were just so amazing, every woman’s dream, but yet you are mine and I am humbly grateful. I thank God every single day and often feel unworthy of having a man like you. Every presentation, every defense, every event leading to this point you were there. All while juggling your intense career as well and earning second masters in computer engineering. You are just amazing and mine and I’m grateful…so so grateful.
When I wanted to quit and go down some other rabbit trail, you’d pull me back. You even warned me that to do anything else I would be disobeying God because you felt it was a calling on my life. You baby (and of course God), you are the reason I am here and at this place. These flowers on my desk, celebrating all that is happening now and a dream fulfilled by teaching at Howard U, touch me to my soul. Thank you. Getting roses from you will never grow old. They remind me of all the times you have just been such a rock for me. You always give me roses in the milestones of my life, because you know how I feel about them, the thorns leading up to the beautiful roses that fill the world with a sweet aroma. If we endure trials that’s how our blessing will be I feel. You know me so well and love me so hard. I am so thankful I did not marry anybody else. I am so glad every broken relationship before you, that I thought would rip my heart out, did not work. You are my king, my rock, my love and I am grateful to belong to you. Most men ran from me, my strength often times scaring them away, but you told me it’s sexy. You make me even stronger baby and yet so weak with love for you. My heart is in your hands, my love. No matter where I go in this life, my heart and soul will always and forever belong to you.