I've heard enough commencement speakers in the past week - both in person and on TV - that I know this just the beginning, not an end. But we can all catch our breaths for a short time while we relax and celebrate our Fran getting her nurse's pin and the #$&%^$@!! Nurse's CAP! The joy I feel is hard to express. Fran and I didn't have the best relationship during her teen years and a bit beyond. There were times I could never imagine seeing her receive academic awards....I would have predicted visiting her in prison - or worse. But her 'gap decade' has paid off in a big way. She has turned her hard-headed determination into positive drive and a lust for learning. The soft-hearted desire to be helpful to all (which once found her detained for hiding an acquaintance's brass knuckles in her bra to "keep him out of trouble") has turned into compassion for those she has had under her care. She is going to be a wonderful nurse.
As I ranted here before, the deal I made with her was that I (we, really) would support her through nursing school. And all I asked for in return was a picture of her in her cap. And this was the year that the school dispensed with the cap in the official class composite portrait. Enough students protested that they were given the opportunity to have an un-official picture taken - wearing the one shared cap that belonged to the school (that somehow seems to violate a few things that might be taught in the public health nursing unit - I'm talkin' cooties here, people). And so, for now, my dreams are complete.
But it gets better!!!
We made it to the pinning ceremony with minutes to spare. I tried to leave work two hours early, which translated into a real hour or so early. And then I went to my in-laws house to try to find some blooming lilies-of-the-valley to make into a bouquet. This is not only Fran's favorite flower, but I also found out it is the official emblematic flower of the nursing profession. What could be better than a bouquet of these exquisite blooms? I'd been thinking of this for months. But the very late spring weather in the Chicago area was plotting against me. I assessed the flowers while visiting my mother-in-law on Mother's Day. It looked like we might have a shot if there were a few warm days ahead. Well, no. We did have two fairly warm days but not warm enough to open more than a few paltry pips. While Bridget was dog walking in Lake Forest she saw some in bloom and had the nerve + cute personality that allows a person to ring a door bell, tell the story of the lily-of-the-valley as the nurses flower and her sister's graduation (in about 60 seconds) and ask and receive permission to pick a lovely bouquet. Bridget had actually made a nice bouquet with pips and leaves expertly overlaid (learning by osmosis is a strong family trait - and Bridget's days working at Lake Forest Flowers had paid off). I added my sad, constricted pips and tied a ribbon around the bouquet. Emily took the smart route and found apricot (the academic color for nursing) roses.
It took awhile to get everybody going. This is what Emily tells me the people in Chinatown refer to as a "von Huben fire drill." Rick drove his parents. I drove Chuck and Bridget, with Bridget in the back seat, since I need work on my shocks and I can only have one person of minimal weight in my back seat. There were a few moment when Chuck wanted to jump out of the car - some people don't find the banter/bickering of car rides with Mom and Bridget to be fun. I missed a turn-off. I got caught by a red light camera (I think that's the first moving violation of my life. What a night for firsts!) But we made it.
|"We" got the pin!!!|
I - never the lachrymose type - expected to be a little misty eyed when she got her pin. I wasn't prepared for the announcement of the 2013 "RN of Tomorrow" award. I knew Fran had written an essay as part of an application for some sort of scholarship thing. I knew it rather well, as I had read it and proof read it as she put it through multiple changes. When the speaker started to quote the words of this year's winner, I stopped breathing. I knew those words. I caught my breath enough to be able to scream when Fran was announced as the 2013 winner! And I wept. For a moment. (A moment is a long cry for me) Not that I didn't think she would not have been a winner....no, it was like all the sorrows of the past came rushing past and found a story book denoument. Commencement...beginnings...happy endings.
|Every nurse should have her own cap!|
|Fran with Martha and Danielle. Phil Theta Kappa, High Honors - not bad for a chronic truant from homeschooling!|