Graduation from college seemed like no big deal. I was graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English and was staying at my university for graduate school. I should’ve been more excited. I wasn’t. I was ready to be done and to move on.
Mom, dad, sister, grandmother, and grandmother’s boyfriend all came down to watch me walk across the stage. Out of all of us, Mom was the most excited.
She was dressed up in a simple blue shirt and a white skirt with a floppy white sun hat and was rapidly taking pictures. Pictures of me, pictures of me and Dad, pictures of me and Dad and my diploma, pictures of me and my sister, pictures of me and Grandma, pictures of me and my diploma, etc. Fully blinded from the flash, our family made way to the car where they would fight for parking, walk in the heat to some seats, and try to snag a decent view of the stage from the football stadium bleachers. When I was done corralling them into the car and away so I could finish getting ready, I reflected on the four years I had been away from them all.
During those four years, I relied on my mother the most. My mother drove two hours to see me when I was sick. Twice. She made PB&J, chicken noodle soup, and made me take jarfuls of Vitamin C. Mom was also my hairdresser, providing free hair cuts any time I drove down for a visit. Mom was my chef when I came home as well providing PB&J, pasta, and sometimes a meal out downtown.
While panicking over some financial or academic crisis, I called Mom.
While crying over a broken relationship or a fight with a friend, I called Mom.
When I was angry with Dad or my sister, I called Mom.
When I was upset over a situation at work, I called Mom.
Before midterms, I called Mom.
After midterms, I called Mom.
When I had to move to a new apartment, I called Mom. Twice.
Twice, Mom drove her SUV up with the trailer attached and worked over a weekend to move all of my stuff up and down flights of stairs.
When I was sick and needed to go to the hospital back home, I called Mom.
When I walked across stage and took my seat, I called Mom. A “thank you” wasn’t enough, but I could hear her throat swell with tears when I said, “I love you.”