Tuesday, May 8, 2012

grandma graduates

I call my mom almost daily. Okay, sometimes I call my mom a few times daily. Mostly I call just because. But sometimes I call because I need her. I need her advice or I need her to solve a problem. I need to know how to fix a recipe I botched. I need her to make Lou Lou sleep. I need her to stop the toddler's tantrums. I need her to validate my motherly choices because sometimes I seriously feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. And let's be honest, she knows everything.

Those who know my mom know that she doesn't do anything moderately. If she chooses to do something, she does it with all her heart and soul. For example:

She got tired of my dad being able to speak Portuguese without her, so she taught herself to speak the language. Fluently. She's taught herself some German and knows the basics of American Sign Language as well, because WHY NOT.

She learned to play the piano and the violin as a child (proficiently), but also later taught herself the basics on the flute, cello, guitar, and harp. I also happen to know she also plays a mean recorder.

She types like six jillion words per minute (over 100) and worked from home as a paralegal when we were young. (I'm assuming she did her work at night, because although I know she did work, I don't remember it.)

She decided she'd like to have her own Web site, and instead of cheating like the rest of us and using Wordpress or Blogger, she learned HTML. And wrote her own site. It makes me tired even thinking about it.

She wrote an entire phonics-based reading system (which Annabelle will start as soon as her mother gets off her duff). She wrote the learning system. Normal.

She also has a few novels published. WHAT? You don't?

She's seriously SERIOUSLY not normal. And I love her for it. I try living up to her example daily. When I don't know what to do in a sticky mommy moment, I honestly just ask myself how she would handle it. And it always works out. Because while she was busy teaching herself to speak languages and play an orchestra in her spare minutes, she was spending her days raising us. She lived every second of our lives with us. I think that's a pretty special thing, and pretty unique. She dedicates her life to her girls.

About two years ago, my mom went back to college. The reasons for her return are varied, but I know that in part, she wanted to finish what she started. When I was born, she took on the full time job of mom and put her education on hold. While we were young, she did manage to finish her Associate's degree one class at a time, but she always always wished she had her Bachelor's degree. And so off Grandma Lichelle went. To school. With a bunch of teenagers. And just like everything else she does, she poured her heart and soul in to it. She studied her brains out. She wrote papers weeks before they were due (especially if it meant she'd have free time for her grandbabies). She missed class once, only when a grand baby was born. She worked on the school journal and did an internship at the college library, which then turned into a job (my DREAM JOB, seriously, can't talk about it without turning a little green {with envy}). She worked her little hiney off.

And after all that work, my mom graduated last weekend. I couldn't have been more proud. It was like she was my baby, sitting there on the stand. She's been through so much. Much of her plans haven't turned out the way she thought they would. But her life is amazingly beautiful. She's strong. She endures. She's victorious over pain. She teaches us daily to never be afraid of standing up for right. She defends good and believes in it even when she has every reason to doubt. She refuses to fall when most people would likely just give up. I know that to her the future right now is just a big scary unknown. But from my view, it's pretty amazing. The blessings are pouring in with such ferocity she can hardly keep up. Her life gets happier by the minute. At least I think so. It isn't what she planned, but my heavens, it's lovely.
This past weekend, my mom - my babies' grandma - was the valedictorian of her class. And there she was, multiple decorations and honors hanging off her neck, beautiful and strong and proud. All of her babies (grand babies included) sat on the second row beaming and bursting with pride. Someday I'll be able to say to my girls, "Did you know your grandma was the valedictorian in college? When she was a grandma?" They'll be impressed, I'm sure. But they won't quite comprehend how loaded that statement is. Because right now, she's the valedictorian over life. She's a survivor. She's living proof that sometimes bad things happen to good people. But she's even better proof that good people can become better in spite of it all. She's happy. And that's what matters.
Congratulations Mama. You do your girls so proud. In this and in everything you do.


Riss said...

Perfectly said, Sooh. Mom will for sure cry.

The Harrises said...

She looks so happy! My favorite is the 3rd generation photo at the top. You all look so much alike.

lichelle said...

This is wonderful. And yes, for the record, it made me cry!! Can't you warn me to read these things before I put makeup on? ;)

Thank you. This is very beautiful.

My goodness, I can hardly believe it. I finally have my degree!

singingrae said...

Wow wow wow. Congratulations Lichelle! What an amazing achievement. And Shauntel, what a lovely tribute to a literal superwoman!


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