Today, we celebrate Kat graduating from Aveda Fredric’s Institute
She did it! Kat is officially a graduate of Aveda Fredric’s Institute and is a licensed cosmetologist! To say we’re just a little bit excited is an understatement.
Of course, we’ve rather kept our excitement under wraps. There’s no huge party tonight. In fact, we’re just having five-bean soup for dinner. The kids will be in bed before she gets home. No banners. No cards. Just a kiss and a glass of scotch.
That’s how Kat prefers it, though. Don’t throw a spotlight on her, that makes her anxious. Leave her alone, let her do her thing, and watch her excel. She doesn’t yell, scream, and brag a lot when she does a great job because she tries to make every cut, style, and color the best possible. That’s how Kat handles everything. Go for the best.
However, I’m going to take a moment here and do the bragging she won’t because I know just how much of a challenge this has been.
Not What Anyone Was Expecting
When I first met Kat, she would have laughed in my face had I ever suggested she would one day be where she is now. She was still every bit a Marine. She was most comfortable in a green hoodie and sweats with the Marine Corp globe and anchor imprinted on them. She was cautious about everything: where she went, how she got there, what she said to whom, and with whom she associated. She carried a weapon at all times and made it clear she wouldn’t hesitate to use it. During one of our earliest conversations, she confided that she knows seven different ways to kill a person with her bare hands. While I’ve seen a few people scoff that a “girl” with such a small frame could actually do that, let me assure you that I’ve seen her strength in action. Don’t doubt her.
Kat still admits that she’s not someone who likes to dress up all girly and go out. That’s just not her personality. However, when we first met, she hardly knew how to put makeup on her own face, much less anyone else’s. I still remember showing her how to apply eye shadow and a touch of blush without looking clownish. The first time she watched Danelle French apply makeup for one of my photoshoots, she tried to not stare but kept catching herself watch the way Danelle transformed the model’s face.
What Kat does like doing, however, is messing with her hair color. We had been together over a year before I knew her natural hair color. More often than not, her hair had multiple colors in it because heaven forbids that she be boring and only put one color in her hair. When she couldn’t find a color she liked, she’d experiment with mixing different colors until she found something she could tolerate. The sink in our bathroom is a testament to all the different dyes she’s washed out there.
The Challenge of Getting There
Somewhere along the way, as I pushed her to do more with makeup and even encouraged her to try her skill with models who would stop by, a spark caught and she realized that cosmetology was something she could actually do. We agreed that she needed to go to cosmetology school, but where? She did a truck-load of research, not only looking at the schools themselves, but talking to their graduates and their graduates’ clients. It never was about who had the cheapest program or where she could get done the quickest. After all, she’s still a Marine. The question was always which school is the best. By the time she finished asking questions, there was one clear winner: Aveda Fredric’s Institute.
Unlike many other cosmo schools, Aveda offered a three-day a week schedule. That was extremely important. While going back to school was nice, there was no putting life on hold. Kat couldn’t just hit the pause button on being a mom for 12 months. The three-day schedule meant that she’d still have time to work and occasionally be able to be at home before the kids went to bed. She was also impressed by their all-natural line of products, something that was important to both of us. I’d told her horror stories of models sitting in the makeup chair and suddenly having their face break out due to an allergic reaction to the chemicals in the makeup.
Kat going back to school would also mean making some serious adjustments here at home. I would have to be the one to handle the kids, her kids, on a daily basis. I would have to take them to and pick them up from the bus stop. I would have to help them with their homework. I would be the one handling discipline problems. I was already doing most the cooking, so that was no big deal, but it did mean that most nights Kat wouldn’t be here for dinner. Still, we knew the changes would be worth the results. So, taking a collective deep breath, she started.
Had the past year just been a matter of Kat going to school three days a week, we would have probably sailed through the time. Life, of course, always has other plans. Issues at the kids’ school grew severe enough that Kat had to take some time off to intervene on their behalf and find another school for them to attend. Then, there was prolonged illness that sometimes seemed formidable enough to scuttle all her plans. There were weeks when it felt as though every day came with a new punch to the gut.
There were changes to our family dynamic as well. We added a large dog and two rambunctious kittens to the pet mix. In July, my youngest son came for what we all thought was just a moth-long visit and due to unexpected circumstances he ended up moving in with us. We erected a fence around the entire yard. There was always something going on to make sure there were few days when she could actually relax for a moment and catch her breath.
As much as anything, Kat has had to put up with me. Ask anyone who’s had to put up with me more than 24 hours and they’ll tell you just how much of a pain in the ass I am. The grumpy old man thing isn’t an act. There’ve been many days where she’s come in from school and had to calm me down from having to deal with the kids, the pets, the neighbors, models, or technology that didn’t work as expected. She’s also been a constant source of comfort and encouragement as my physical limitations have become more severe and frustrating. She’s picked me up off the floor, hand-fed me medicine when I couldn’t take it myself, and carried me to bed when I couldn’t walk. Yet, no matter how little sleep she might get or how many nights she fell to sleep on the couch from sheer exhaustion, she still got up the next morning, found a smile, and went to school.
So, yeah, we’re more than just a little proud that she’s graduating. We’re also excited to see what comes next. Starting Friday, she’ll be available to take appointments at Snapdragon Salon in Glendale. You can call (317) 255-7965 to make an appointment.
There’s no telling what might happen next, but I’ve worked with over 100 hair and makeup artists over the years and I promise Kat’s going to quickly become one of the best. She surprised herself, and everyone else, with a natural knack for styling, cutting, and color and her makeup is next to impeccable now. The options she’s going to have are considerable.
Yes, I’m biased. I’m also extremely proud, though.
You made it, Kat. Congratulations!
I’ll have your celebratory soup waiting when you come in tonight. I love you.