Back when I was young and stupid and not a contributing member to society – 1999 through, arguably, 2007 – I would sign emails to my Dad with grand declarations such as, “Love always, the most amazing and beautiful daughter in the world.” Or “Love always, your gift to mankind.” Or “Love always, your brilliant and completely fantastic daughter.” Followed, of course, by my full name.
Because I loved to make him laugh and he always had the most sarcastic, yet supportive and loving, reactions to my flair for the dramatic.
Fast forward to 2013 when I got the offer to join the Enterprise Digital Marketing team at Orlando’s only Fortune 500. Daddy was *so* proud. He even conceded that maybe spending all that time on the internet when I was in high school wasn’t such a waste after all.
So you can imagine how badly I wish he were here for me to tell him that my work during the worst year of my life was so outstanding, impressive, and impactful that my company awarded me a coveted “Brilliance Award.”
That’s right, people. I am LITERALLY brilliant. They put it on a freakin’ trophy in, like, glass and metal.
My award came with a day and a half off of work and 100 shares of company stock. The full day off was super clutch because it was preceded by a private award dinner with my company’s C-Suite and lots of official photos and delicious food.
And wine. A whoooole lotta wine. As in, my table tried to get #leavethebottle trending.
The dinner celebration was fantastic and I get bragging rights for a whole year. But the best part? That I work for a company who recognizes and honors my efforts.
I never imagined working for an organization that takes such amazing care of their people. As someone with a very specific skillset, and one that my company desperately needs, I am given free reign and complete trust. I take risks for major brands and am honored for it.
It’s kinda crazy, actually.
It reminds me of a Steve Jobs quote I’ve read:
That’s exactly how my company has treated me and I *love* it.
I know it isn’t healthy to think about what could have been, but if last year’s situation were reversed and Daddy were the one who’d made it, who battled it out for a year and had to relearn everything only to go home as a widower, I would have taken him with me to the award dinner last night.
I would have come back to my table after getting the group photo with my trophy and the CEO and I would have asked him if the evening was “very nice.” And he would have said “Beautiful!!”
As I take a moment to reflect not only what could-never-be, I have to take a moment to think about how I got here. Because the current version of me – the certified brilliant one – would never have been possible without:
- The endless support of my Grace who took me in as a worthless 19 year old and became the big sister I never had. Not only has Grace always been an amazing role model, she is also responsible for the fantastic cocktail dress I wore to my award dinner. Real-time online shopping with me for an entire Saturday to hone in on THE Elizabeth and James Lela dress for the event? That’s what best friends do. The fact that she’s super proud of me and has seen me go from worthless to brilliant? That’s what hetero-lifemates do. 🙂
- My Vince. My fantastic, wonderful husband who kept me standing last year. He met me when I was a bartender trying to turn my sub-par performance at community college into a legit degree program at a real university and his belief in me as a kickass woman has never wavered. Being a strong woman that miiiiight make more than her man has never threatened him. I love making him proud.
- My Daddy – No argument or amount of frustration ever swayed him in how much he loved and supported me. His love was the very definition of “unconditional.” I can’t say that for 98% of my other family members. So even though he’s not here now…. he gets ALL the credit for me turning into a halfway decent person, forever.
There are, of course, many other people who have (for some bizarre reason) always believed in me – Cody, Pants, Tracy, Jon and Dave, and Kat, for example. But the older I get, the smaller that list gets and the more precious their dedication and *unconditional support* becomes. Emphasis on “unconditional” because 2014 was some seriously nasty conditions and those people didn’t give up on me.
This post turned into kind of a love-fest so I’ll end it on a lighter note: Anybody know how I can attach a chain to that trophy because I totally wanna wear it around my neck like Flava Flav wore that clock in 1999. hashtag not kidding.
Or maybe turn it into a Christmas ornament? Or perhaps it should go on the end of a giant pen…
I don’t know. Creative suggestions are welcome in the comments below. 🙂