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Archive for December 23rd, 2009

Despite my mother/abuser’s plans to arrive an hour early to the graduation ceremony, my friend and I beat her there, which isn’t surprising … my mother is always late except for airports and dentists. We arrived about 45 minutes before the ceremony, and we chose seats where we would have a good view of my sister but were also in a cluster of people in the middle of a row. I made sure that the seat next to me was taken.

About 10 minutes later, my mother slowly walked by in front of us, but she didn’t see us (thank goodness). I pointed my mother out to my friend, and I got nauseous. I seriously feared I was going to throw up, but I didn’t want to run to the bathroom for fear that my mother would see me. I got out a book, tilted my head so my hair covered my face, and laid low. Meanwhile, my friend kept tabs on where my mother went and would warn me when to lay low.

My mother found my sister and her kids, and the group walked right past us to seats about two rows ahead and maybe 50 feet away. None of them saw us, thank goodness. My mother brought along a friend, which I found hysterical (like she needed a buffer, too!). My mother would stand up periodically as we waited for the ceremony to start and look around for me. My friend would shift to block her line of view to me, and my mother never did find me.

The graduation ceremony was amazing. The president of the college chose one student – my sister – to talk about during his address. As he shared about her hard work as a single mother and her success in college, I could hear people around me saying, “Wow!” The president then asked my sister to stand and be recognized. I was so proud of her.

My sister graduated cum laude with honors, and she had all sorts of regalia over her graduation gown. Of course, under the gown, she was wearing a T-shirt about brain-eating zombies, fish socks, and combat boots … but that is another story. During the ceremony, I succeeded in making this about her, not my mother, and I am very proud of myself for that. As difficult as this time has been for me emotionally, I would not have traded being there for my sister for anything in this world.

To be continued…

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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