We did it! We defeated the odds, overcame struggle and hardships and crushed stereotypes. You took out loans for me, worked overtime and sacrificed things you wanted and needed in order to finance my education. I attended classes, stayed up late many times writing long papers and prepared for endless presentations and exams, never taking the opportunity to attend St. Kate’s for granted. You are my motivation to succeed and aim higher.
You never once had to ask me if I was on top of all of my assignments and due dates because you knew that I was responsible and in charge of my own destiny. You did not have to worry about that because you raised me to be independent, responsible and pro-active.
You raised Catherine and me all by yourself without the help and support of a spouse or grandparents. You assumed the role of both mother and father, and you did it all without complaining about how much more you had to do since you were doing it alone. Like the Angel Soft commercial says, “Some days she had to be softer. Some days she had to be stronger. But every day she had to be both.”
You not only taught me, but showed me how to use my voice to speak out against something that does not look or feel right. You demonstrated how protective, loving, kind, compassionate, strong and resilient a woman can be. St. Kate’s teaches that women can do anything a man can do, but I did not learn this at St. Kate’s. I learned this long before I enrolled in 2012 from you.
Thank you for supporting me when I studied abroad, and especially when I returned home and dealt with the reverse culture shock. Thank you for supporting me and the decisions I made, and thank you for allowing me to make my own mistakes so I could learn from them. You told me to be persistent and patient when it comes to applying for fellowships with application components that go through endless revisions and dream jobs that seem out of reach. Thank you for instilling in me that what is most important in life is how you bounce back from setbacks you will encounter.
In less than a month I will be walking across the O’Shaughnessy stage to receive my diploma and you will be there cheering me on like you have done since I came into this world. I say “we did it,” because we share in the accomplishment together. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. How fitting that Mother’s Day is in May and my Graduation Day is as well.
Thank you, Mom.