You could tell their stories weren’t garden variety kid fresh out of high school enters university and leaves with a diploma four (or five) years later, ready to take on the globe.
What with their beautiful wrinkles and teary-eyed children, spouses and grandkids, one could feel the weighty power of their individual songs — of the long and winding paths of lives that took unforeseen turns. Some kids and a divorce here. A career opportunity and a good dose of self-questioning there. Plenty of life mourned and rejoiced over. Plenty of shoes tied and hair braided. So many obstacles overcome and cause for stumbling, and yet…this group couldn’t quite shake the dream from their soles.
Sitting in that ballroom, you could feel the swelling pride, chins lifted with what they’d actually done and were doing. Yes, we were in the presence of overcomers, and we shared holy ground. Among the overcomers my own mama, her life song rising with the rest of the gorgeous and motley bunch from a local university that’s home for many returning adult students.
So, you’ve got to hear this: forty-six years after she began college, my mama walked across the platform to receive a piece of paper calligraphed with her name! And we cheered hard. Oh yes, we did.
Not until one of her last term’s classes in which she charted the story of her areas of study over the years (that included journalism, pre-med, oriental medicine/massage, art therapy and photography) did Mama begin to see the art of her own unique journey, untangling the threads through decades. As she worked on this final project, Mama understood the why and how of this piece leading to that one. She saw purpose in the stirring that rang so true in a life season and seemed to fall flat just a few years later when she waited tables or worked in a bank or watched her own daughters graduate college.
She saw why her journey needed to be as it was.
As I sat there, tears running, I considered all the stops and starts and disappointments, all the renewed hope and belief in the unseen that brought her here, and my own soul grew some new feathers for its wings.
And when my girls squeezed and congratulated their beaming grandma after she’d crossed tassel from one side to another, her own mother (my grandma) and me, looking on with shared pride, I thought, It’s possible there’s never been a sight more stirring or sweet.
Linking with Jennifer.
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You bless and humble me Ashley! And I can’t begin to tell you how many times it’s been that you’ve grown new feathers on my wings!! Where would i be without you!?
all love, mama
Congratulations Antoinette. Ashley put beautiful words to your day. xoxo
She did Jenni! (She has a way of doing that.) Thank you! :) xoxo
Thanks, Jen. It was a great day for sure.
Love you so, Mamacakes. You bless me.
Congratulations to you! So moved, reading about this… your discovery of the art of your journey. Stunning. Brave. Vulnerable. Bold. Courageous. Cheering for you over here in Kansas City. Blessings on your new season!
Oh you are SO dear Dana!! Arms full of thank you’s and blessings in return! Your words really touched me!!
I just graduated too – 45 years after I began. Tell your mom congratulations!
Megan, that is fantastic!!!! So so happy for you! You and my mama almost on the same timeline, it appears. What a huge accomplishment!
oh my goodness. my eyes are welling with tears and pride for our mama mandeish!!!! I love her so much and am so proud of her.
Kindy I love and miss you so much! Thank you for your sweet thoughts!! Please let’s plan a big all girl date this summer! xox Mama Mandeish!
Yes, let’s all be together this summer. I know, Kinny, isn’t this PHENOMENAL news?!
Thank you, Debby. So sweet to “see” you here. Miss you at CBS. xoxo
Ash, please tell Megandaline Congratulations!! Wahoo! :)
I just would like, somehow, to spend time with you and your Mom!? One of these
days soon after I paint a pic of my house and the two of us in front of it as per CMD!!
Can’t wait to see your painting, Janet! That would be fun…have you and my mama met? At ICC perhaps?
Such an awesome testimony of love, faith and perseverance that you and your mama share! Love it and love you both!
Ah, Annie, thank you, friend. Such a great culmination for all of us. Love you!
Thankfully my swelling pride overshadows the sense of loss I feel for missing out on this monumentous memory. Your beautiful description of this day makes me feel like I was there, crying and cheering with you all! Way to go mama!!!!! I love you all!
I love you, Sissy, and know you would have been there if you could have!! Glad my words helped bring you there…but then again you’ve been along on the journey each step of the way. Adoring you!
So precious… and oh my goodness you look like your Mama! LOVE this piece… for so many reasons!
Oh, thank you dear one. I always wanted to look like my mama as a girl, so thank you for that big compliment. :) xoxo
Thanks and please keep me posted.
With love, Ruth, my daughter, too. The graduate. Please see the pic.
Grandma, so glad we could be there together that day. What a celebration it was! I love you.
The joy and pride here is palpable, Ashley. I love everything about this post, about the picture of you and your Mama, the inspiration this is for those who feel their dreams may never be within reach. Thank you for putting this into words. Love you.
Thank you, love. I think it is one of my most favorite things in the WHOLE world to see people realize their dreams. Seriously brings me to tears every time…so to see this realized for my mama, yeah, a big deal. :-) Thank you for getting the layers of this. xoxo
Ohhh now here I am all teary eyed too.. what a beautifully written piece filled with so much love.. and what an amazing accomplishment and dream come true! You inspire all of us!! Congratulations Ani!! xx
Thank you for sharing your congratulations, Smidge! A big and special event for sure. We are definitely proud. Much love to you.