Growing up my mom always made me work the hardest at everything. Of course, like any child I didn’t realize why she did it and was always frustrated.
Try again she would say. Your teacher gave you 10 projects to choose from, just do all 10. Don’t quit. Be the best you can be.
I remember always wanting to please my mom and it was a good thing. I wanted her to see my efforts. I wanted her to know that I would work hard. School wasn’t easy for me – I did well, but unlike my sister, always had to study and had to study a lot to get that A (one might say I knew how to play school but that is a different story).
My mom has been by my side for multiple graduations – high school, college, masters, and doctoral work. Each time she expressed how proud she was of me and each time I took those words for granted. I knew she was proud but didn’t take the time to tell her the same, mom I am proud of you.
We celebrated my high school graduation at a park nearby and recently saw pictures from it. We were all so young then.
After my college graduation at Butler University, we went to the Willard – my mom, sister and I – I distinctly remember having a beer that day – the first time I had ever drank around mom. It shocked her and she reminded me not to become an alcoholic. This always made me laugh but she was always worried about drinking because of becoming addicted. I fully understand and respect her worry, but still love my beverages and always assured her I would not be an alcoholic.
I don’t remember celebrating when I graduated with my masters, but she was there.
Then, it was graduating with my doctorate from IU that is the most vivid in my mind as it was most recent. She reminded me how proud she was of me and that she knew I had sacrificed a lot for that. That day we went to Mother Bears pizza in Bloomington – the whole family. I remember the feeling of joy that swirled through my body that day because I had sacrificed so much time to make that happen. I remember her smile. Her hug. Her laughter. She was proud and she told me that again.
I should have, at that moment, said, mom I’m proud of you and I am who I am because of the work ethic you instilled in me and the love that you put forth. I should have told her I work so hard because of her. I should have but never did so I am telling her now as I gently strike each key on the keyboard. Mom – I have three degrees and am getting ready to pursue another licensure and you are the reason why I am able to do that. Yes, I am my own person – but you taught me to go after what I want, to work hard, to recognize the challenges, and make it happen.
Mom, thank you. I am so proud of you!