You stand out — but never alone.

* * *

I have never accomplished anything entirely on my own. Family, friends, and sometimes people I don’t know played a role in supporting my efforts.

You read stories of how individuals overcame obstacles, pulling themselves by their proverbial “bootstraps.” Yes, we must take the first step and possess some self-motivation.

As I worked full-time and drove three nights a week to graduate classes, my husband cooked dinner for himself or our sons. One son would bring me snacks late at night or on the weekend as I scoured over research articles and wrote papers.

Friends sent notes of encouragement, hung with me, and understood why lunch had to wait — for now. My daughter, busy with a new baby, never let me forget that my goals mattered. Our youngest son listened as I expounded on some new theory or idea fermenting in my thoughts.

Could I have reached the destination without the guidance of a brilliant professor or classmates who challenged my thinking? Maybe, but each gave me a piece of courage and persistence that smoothed the path.

On graduation day, I may have been the one walking across the stage, but I was never alone. And I am forever grateful.

Who stands behind you?

* * *

This six-word story first appeared in the Six Word Photo Story Challenge on Medium.

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

Photo: “Three Dandelions” © Kathryn LeRoy