Have you ever been so excited about something, that you could not put your feelings into words? Well that is where I am today. My raw expression is to ball up my hands, push them toward the ground, bend my knees, and just let out a primal scream of pure joy. Beyond, that I will attempt to open up and express myself today. Perhaps sharing "the story before the story" will help me to get my words out.
I was born the 5th child of 6. I am still sometimes referred to as, "the one next to the baby". I am the product of the "Dream" that my parents had, not for themselves, but for their children. They were born and raised in the segregated city of Columbia, South Carolina. They experienced the "separate but equal education" of the South. When they were barely out of their teens and in the early stages of starting a family, they made a bold decision to pack up and leave everything they had known, good and bad, with the belief that their children would have an equal opportunity in life. Their journey lead them to Mount Clemens, Michigan.
I was born and raised in Mount Clemens Michigan. Throughout my childhood I could feel the empowerment of the equal opportunities that I was exposed to (at the time I didn't understand what it was). I guess, in many ways this was the eutopia my parents were in search of when they moved so far away from home. I did not have a perfect child hood, but I had opportunities that my parents only dreamed of. I went to school with the freedom to be myself, and the opportunity to be accepted or rejected for myself. My parents always encouraged us to get an education. This was mainly the speech of my father. As for my mother, she would not let a day go by without speaking of the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Between the two of them I was developed to believe that anything is possible. My "Dream", that I am living today is their legacy. It has been more than thirty years in the making. As a young child, they never spoke against the things that made me different (being the household bookkeeper or my interest in taxes at age 12). They did everything they could to set me on the path that would lead me to this moment. Their "yes you can" mentality, and their boldness in going after what they believed would be best for their children, planted so many seeds in my life. I will continue to water those seeds that they planted and live out the "American Dream". America is still the land of opportunity and I am so thankful for this one.
I know that my Parents are looking down from Heaven. I want them to know how much I love them and appreciate their sacrifices. I will continue do my best in life. I will never accept failure as an option. I will never accept quitting as an option. I will never give up on the "American Dream".
Thank you to my family and friends and everyone who has ever supported me. I am so humbled by this blessing.