Oct 12, 2009
Right now I am at least 30,000 feet up in the air and on my way back home to Las Vegas, Nevada. I am leaving Memphis, Tennessee where I attended my mothers’ college graduation a truly momentous occasion. There I sat in the crowd among the rest of my family, most notably my father who nodded on and off, my baby sister of 25 years, cousins, nephew, aunts and uncles.
My mother walked by us in a long line among the other hundred college graduates beaming with pride. Her gray hair neatly tucked away underneath her cap with the black gown floating behind her. My mother seemed to strut down that aisle. I have never seen her walk so tall or so proud before in my life. As I sat in the stands listening to the sea of graduates being called, my family stated “there she is she’s next, get the camera ready.” Indeed I did, preparing for them to call her name. My mother climbed and walked across that stage as if she owned it, as if she had always known this day would come. She shook the Dean’s hand and grabbed her diploma looked up and gave the prettiest, most self-assured smile I had ever seen flash across her face. It was as if nothing else mattered, it was her day. The day she suffered long nights for, toiled for, quietly prayed for, and had waited for. My mother is now a MBA graduate.
My mother is the woman who carried her whole family on her shoulders. The woman who held us all together when my father lost his “good job.” My mother, who went out and got a job while my father was busy waiting for the “call” to return; my mother, the woman who suffered abandonment when her own mother had left her as a small child, the woman who was a victim of domestic violence, mentally and physically by the hand of my father.
The woman who I watched pack us all up, moved us to the South and into a small apartment to take a job caring for mentally disabled adults because she said God told her to in her dreams. This same woman who never complained, who never said she was tired, who may have been battered but never broken, who made us keep God first. The woman who worked long hours well into the night to make sure we were fed, clothed, and supported us no matter how far-fetched our dreams had become.
This was the woman who started off as a caregiver, but worked her way into a director’s position within her company. This same woman took care of my father when he fell ill with numerous strokes, and finally a brain aneurysm. This is the woman who graciously walked across that stage yesterday to take her diploma. She is the first to earn a Master’s degree on both sides of the family, immediate and extended. While at that graduation I learned something, yet again from my mother. I learned that you have to keep going, always looking ahead, and never look back. I learned the real power of forgiveness. Because in forgiveness you can achieve much more, your load can be lighter, and you release the ties that bind so that you can achieve your own brilliance. I learned that age doesn’t hold you back from anything. I learned that when you believe in yourself anything is possible. I learned that nothing keeps you from achieving great success but you. I finally learned that I have nothing to complain about; that achieving my graduate degree will motivate, and hopefully inspire other women.
Next year, I too will walk across a stage to shake a hand, and receive my diploma with a Masters degree in Business and Health care Management. Not the first in my family, but following in the footsteps of a woman who has never given up. My mother is beautiful on the inside and out, she is the first to help and the last to ask. In the spirit of furthering my education I will be following in the footsteps of this fine individual, a model citizen, a perfect role model my mother, and when someone says, “Hey, you remind me of your mother.” I will smile widely and know I have been given one of the greatest compliments I could ever hope to receive and I will simply state, “Thank you!”
Stay Blessed & Happy Locing!