Graduation day came and went, as do all the events that come and go. But it was an emotional day for me. Eighteen years of working hard, often two jobs, making every dollar count, while waiting on my son’s big day, it was worth it to see him in his cap and gown, beaming from ear to ear.
I was, of course, sad that Mom wasn’t there, but I know she would have been proud to see what an amazing young man he has become and all he has accomplished, despite the obstacles he has faced along the way. And the obstacles I faced as I struggled to raise him on my own. There were plenty of times when I felt like I was failing miserably, both as a single mother and as my family’s only provider. There are plenty of times when I lost my grip and fell and thought that I couldn’t get up. But I did over and over, and that young man is proof that despite the financial struggle, health worries, and parenting alone, you can still get up even when it feels like you haven’t got the strength.
And life can be unfair. It can knock you down. So, can people, and I have had plenty of people in my life who have knocked me down and were shocked when I still managed to get up. There were plenty of times when I wanted to lie there, but I got up, even if I did it crawling. And there have been so many times where I had no one to lean on and I could only rely on myself. But again, it has been worth seeing that smile on that young man’s face, and I’d do it again. Because despite numerous obstacles, he turned out to be an amazing young man, and this momma should be prouder.
His graduation day also brought out some difficult emotions, ones I thought I had long overcome. Turns out I am still angry at certain people in my life for putting so much responsibility on me and not being there for me when I needed them most. That is something I have been thinking a lot about in recent days. I am actually embarrassed about my anger. I thought I was past it, but I guess I am not. I have prayed on it and I prayed for the strength to forgive. I think I have held on to my anger because I am afraid to forget and make the same mistakes I previously made. I will keep praying for the strength to forgive, to be forgiven, but not to forget and repeat past mistakes. After all, I set examples for my children, and the kind of people I want them to be. So, I need to be better than this.
As I think about what I want for my children, I want for them to experience everything I was never able to experience. I want to choose dreams that mean the most to them, not me and not anyone else. I hope the roads they take lead them to where they want to go. I hope that even when the world is cold that they choose to smile and look for goodness and kindness. I hope their dreams are big and their worries are small. I hope they never have to bear more than they can handle.
Mostly I hope they know that I love them, and I am forever proud of them. I hope that they find love with people who want the same for them. I hope they find God’s grace when times are good and even when they are rough. I hope they never forget where they came from and that they can always come home. Because being their mother, it is my honor and every struggle, it is worth it to see them succeed and become the adults I know they can be.
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