I cannot express how proud I am of her, not just for reaching the end of that journey but because of how full of experiences that journey was. I went to college and before I became a mother, I really didn't do much except go to classes and parties and scrape the barrel with my grades. I did get a degree (Math w/ a minor in computer science) but I would have liked to do so much more with the experience. I know she will not have those regrets.
When we first went to visit the school she comented on how much fun the tour guide was having. She said she would like to do that and from her second year on she did just that. She became an orientation assitant the first year she was eligible and did it every subsequent year. She joined clubs and a co-ed fraternity. She fulfilled a life long dream studying abroad in Japan, she was recognized for ther leadership initiatives and was a McNair Scholar. She also fell in love and became engaged to be married.
I know she will always cherish the years she was at RIT and know she packed as much life into those years as she could. That is what I am most proud of and I celebrate her life and what she has made of it.
My sister, Brenda recently talked about the graduation on her blog (Pumpkin Patch Primitive Quilt Shoppe) and she talked about how she changed her diapers and babysat for her but she minimized what that meant for me. I was a single parent and would not have been able to get my own college degree without those days that she 'babysat' for me.
When my daughter was just a few months old I found myself without a support system and I had to choose either to stay in college by sending my baby to be raised by grandparents, or to give up my studies and raise her myself. Well, Brenda, a senior in college herself, rearranged her classes so that she would be free half of the day to care for my baby. I would go to classes in the morning and she would go in the afternoon. When she graduated and move to the states, I shortly followed and she opened her home to me and my child so I could continue to go to school in Massachusetts. When I had my own place she would drive an hour and 45 minutes after a night shift to babysit so I could go and study for finals or meet with study groups. If it was tough at times it would have been much more without the support I recieved from my sister.
Today she has a child of her own (he is wearing the graduate hat in the above picture - He was very excited about Dre's graduation!). Gene Paul is 13 and is autistic. My sister juggles being a mother and a teacher (Gene Paul is home schooled) as well as a business owner without much assistance and with an attitude that won't falter.
Today, I also celebrate her life. She turns 44 today and is one of the most caring, giving and strongest women I will ever meet in my life.
Happy Birthday Sis!! May you get many more 'extra' years!