On dreams, timing, and family
I wrote part of this post a few years ago - even then, a few years after my mother first walked across a stage in cap and gown. For a blog that I’d like to be less personal - I can’t help but revisit this today.
This weekend my family had our first college graduation. Revolutionary, maybe not, but meaningful for us nonetheless.
While the timing was unplanned - my mother hoping to see most of her children graduate college before she did - the feelings were unmistakeable.
My mother decided a few years shy of 50 that she would go back to school and fulfill the dream she had held from childhood. She would finish college and claim for herself the dignity and opportunity that only education can provide. For two grueling years, she threw herself back into a system that had been foreign to her for over 30 years. After getting her first two-year degree, she set higher goals. Five years later, she has just completed a four-year, dual major degree, and will finish her master’s in the upcoming year. She already has a plan for pursuing a PhD.
How far these accomplishments will take her at this point in her life, I cannot say. What I unfailingly know is that it was worth it.
Too many times over the past 7 years I have questioned the meaningfulness of her decisions. I have struggled with knowing that my mother sometimes lives off of 3-4 hours of sleep per night for weeks, juggling more than one job and a full academic course-load. Meanwhile, I am watching Netflix and eating gelato in the beautiful woods of New England.
But seeing her fly around after the ceremony, happily being congratulated by the many students and professors she has endeared herself to, made it more than real.
And seconds after watching her process in, wearing her cap and gown, my brother broke down and set off the waterfall of tears that would affect the rest of my family during the ceremony.
I have nothing left but kind emotions - overwhelming pride, love, and gratitude for the woman who proves daily that you can literally do it all. That love of family precedes all things, and that you are never too old to try.
You’ll notice that the original post is more cheesy and even more poorly written than this, but captures some of the things I had been thinking back then and am gratefully reminded of today.
The original (unedited) post below.