Yesterday was epic. A dream was realized. Prayers are answered in many ways.
Long ago in my childhood I would have annual visits to my family reunion in a small town in eastern North Carolina. Those trips were a cornucopia for the senses. The lush green mature tree-filled landscapes, the homemade signature delectables lovingly prepared by my aunts, and the dozens of cousins that made this only child feel as if I belonged to something so much bigger than myself. I was the city girl they envied for an unknown lifestyle ….but what they had was what I pined for. These feelings were forever etched into my innermost core.
Fast forward to high school when it was time to think of college. I only wanted to go to North Carolina where all those good memories resided. It was where my dear grandparents and my mother had been born. It was where all my aunts and uncles and cousins still lived. There were deep roots there and perhaps an ancestral calling of sorts. It just felt right. My favorite cousin had gone to UNC at Chapel Hill so that is where I set my sights! I had never even visited there but I just knew I would love it! I applied with confidence, but did not get in. It was a difficult admission for an out-of-stater even back then. So I….took a different path.
Upon graduation from college, my sweet grandparents bought me a car. They let me pick it out within financial reason….the one I chose was….Carolina Blue! I had not given up the dream. I applied again to UNC for grad school and this time I got in! I still had never visited but was confident it would be just what I had imagined it to be. But I got married instead and ….took a different path.
Marriage, children, jobs and life tucked that dream quite neatly away. There it stayed gathering dust for a couple of decades. When it was time for our sons to go to college, I dusted that dream off to show them, but they had their own…as well they should. Theirs did not include UNC. Their paths took them in wonderful directions. We were so happy and proud to watch them chase their own dreams. Attic door closed….we were all on different paths.
The boys are all grown now with families of their own. Long after we felt as if we’d seen the last graduation, our oldest son gave me the greatest gift. We proudly watched him receive his MBA from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with his beautiful wife and precious child in the audience. As I sat in that auditorium on that gorgeous campus I had dreamed about for years, listening to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance, my emotions threatened to overwhelm me. They spilled out my eyes. I was enveloped by the specter of my youthful longings. I could feel the presence of my Mother and Grandparents, who are no longer with us, but who would have been bursting with pride to witness this event. I was the mother remembering all those wonderful milestones he had achieved. Kris had most certainly done the heavy lifting, but in a way, I felt my dream too had been fulfilled. He will never know the magnitude of this amazing event on my heart. It was even better than I thought it would be!
We heard it said once that parents very soon reach the stage where their children’s accomplishments mean more to them than their own. We reached that point SO many years ago, but this was another shining example. As I sit proudly wearing my UNC sweatshirt of Carolina Blue that my son earned my right to wear….I just smile at God’s amazing providence!