Saturday, May 5, 2012


Perseverance: Continuing in a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure.

Walking the Walk

3,794,928 people will turn 60 this year, of that 3.8 million only an incredibly small portion will also graduate from College... My Mom, Pat, will be one of the few that fall in both categories. Now this isn't the first college degree she has attained. The first was received in 1977. But to fully appreciate the dedication it required to get both of these degrees we have to start in 1975.
In 1975 Mom was pregnant with my bother, I mean Brother, (who I shall refer to as Dork) when she decided to apply to the inaugural class of a new nursing program. My Mom knew it would be difficult to get into this program because it was new and A LOT of people wanted to be a part of the program. So she decided to apply the first year, believing she didn't have the 'experience' to make the list the first year. But with high hopes of getting accepted the following year. This would have been ideal because the Dork would be 1-ish if she was accepted year two and this would give her more time to get motherhood and wife-hood under her belt prior to going back to school.
Mom at her first Graduation in 1977
This was a grand, grand plan but as usual she had under estimated her abilities and was accepted into the inaugural class. When she started school the Dork was 5 weeks old. For the next 2ish years my mother worked her tail off to finish Nursing School while working as a nursing assistant and raising an infant/toddler. I am a working mother and it is kicking my tail, I can not imagine putting school on top of the current Chaos....But she did it,  powering through work, constant mounds of homework and pee covered books...the Dork figured out if he peed on the books Mom would have to stop studying and let them dry. Therefore, allowing her time to pay attention to him. He was a genius at an early age... Despite all this my Mother graduated in 1977 with an Associates Degree in Nursing, her RN license and a job at the local hospital!  WOOHOO! Smooth Sailing! Outta school, Outta diapers, and Outta weird work hours (sort of). My parents thought they had finally caught that, OH SO elusive break!
Hehehe....Life has a frightening sense of humor....
Mom and Dad smooth sailing....
After a few, short months at her new job she got wonderful news that a bouncy, baby girl was going to make her entrance into the world. She says she cried profusely at the news... I have always assumed they were tears of pure Joy!
1978 came, as did I, and went as did the next 33 years...
Me, Mom and Dork in Maine
In those fast moving years Mom worked day and night (literally) to help provide a comfortable life for  Dork and I. She strived endlessly to improve herself, and us by proximity, as she and Dad showed us we needed to work hard so we could explore and enjoy the world around us.
Over those years she worked her way through the ranks of nursing while finding her niche, in the OR.  Then she worked her way to the top of that niche, and became the Director of Surgical Services and the President of East Tennessee Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN). This would satisfy most, but, she longed for one more thing. The one thing that two children and life had caused her to postpone over and over. Her Bachelor's Degree.
The Fam...

Today, May 5th 2012, you will graduate for a second time, this time at the top of your class. This time, the small people demanding your attention were your grandchildren. The lack of sleep wasn't from an infant, it was from the stresses of a full time Management position, where your performance affects the livelihood of others. This time, you had something more than pushy children and exhaustion...this time you had an aging and ailing parent who also needed you. So, to say the stresses were many, is to put it lightly. Yet, once again you powered through and never quit. Even when you wanted to quit, you stuck with it.  You persevered to the finish, your 2nd college graduation, the one you did for you. I am so proud!!! You are an amazing woman and have taught me life isn't easy, BUT it is mine and, therefore, my responsibility to make it what I want!
Me and My Mom

Thank you for being you and being a wonderful example of beauty and grace in the light of stress and chaos.
I love you and I am SO proud of you!!