He'd often say: "I just have to take this midterm and then we can ..." take a hike, eat breakfast, go swimming, take a drive, etc.
As I became accustomed to his constant studying, an actual graduation date never occurred to me. Perhaps I thought he would study and take midterms for the rest of his life. But, as it turns out, colleges bestow degrees upon students who fulfill all of the requirements, and one day a few months ago, Dad surprised me when he happily announced he would be graduating.
And so he did on Sunday, magna cum laude. He walked in cap and gown and tassle and ropes and sash with his classmates.
I did not exactly ask his permission to post his photo, so I am posting this slightly blurry photo of him and his classmates, without explaining which graduate he is.
Dad's degree is in theology, and he is a pastor in a Christian church (I am a bit of a black sheep, but I'm not the only one).
It's pretty wonderful to complete such a feat, to never have given up. When they called his name, I felt so proud. As he accepted his degree and walked back to his chair, his smile was so wide and genuine, I finally fully understood the breadth of what it means to him.
So to the man who always advised never to half-ass a project: Congratulations on fully assing this project, Dad. We're happy for you, and looking forward to study-free days.