Yesterday, my mother took her last final for the semester. It was her math class. She thinks she did extremely well on it, which means that she should complete the course with a solid A. Combine that with the B she got in Nursing for the semester, and her semester should be considered nothing less than a smashing success.
I’ve enjoyed listening to her talk about the semester the last few days. Since she found out her final grade for Nursing, she has had this certain sense of pride about her. She realized just how well all her hard work she’s put into her schooling since January has really paid off. And to be honest, I’m more than a little proud of her, too.
I’m looking forward to attending her pinning ceremony next Friday. This is the ceremony where all of the instructors pronounce the first year Nursing students who passed as sophomores. They’re each given a small pin to recognize their success in their first year. And considering the level of difficulty of the course, it’s a success that deserves much celebration.
Of course, I think that Mom’s also more than a little surprised. Along with her pride, I often hear more than a smidgeon of amazement in Mom’s voice. After failing the same semester last year, I think she was truly discouraged and worried about her chances of succeeding. She was afraid she couldn’t make it. And now that she has not only made it, but excelled in the process, she’s amazed.
Of course, that’s the difference between Mom and I. I’m not amazed at all. I’ve known all along she could do it. I know the intelligence and abilities of my parents — probably more than either of them know these things for themselves. Mom’s often talked about how their kids are “smarter” than they are, but I’ve always known better. I’ve known my parents were just as smart as my sister and I. Stephanie and I just happened to have better opportunities to develop our intelligence in the classic, obvious ways. We had opportunities to go to school and get involved in formal programs. I in particular learned to apply my intelligence directly to the academic world.
Before Mom went to school, she’s never had the chance to test or develop her inherent intelligence in that same way, so she always assumed she wasn’t “smart.” Well, now that she’s going through school — and learning to apply her intelligence rather than letting anxiety and self-doubt overcome her –she’s starting to discover that she was wrong all along. And I like seeing her face as she makes that discovery.
There’s something precious about having such an experience when it involves your parent. It’s a sense of turnabout, to be honest with you. I see a woman who has encouraged and supported me all of my life, and now I get the satisfaction of returning that favor to her. It’s nice to see the person who helped you to grow up and fly find her own wings in return. It’s nicer still to have a small part in that process.