Ciolagh Ann graduated with her doctorate in Pharmacy.
The plan was to meet Ciolagh and Kevin at the Marriott in Madison at 11AM for lunch before the ceremony. So at 7:30AM we packed Louie into the car. No! Louie did not come with us. He went to emBark, doggie day care. On Friday evening the lovely Katie and future daughter-in-law would collect him. Louie arrangements got very involved. I won’t go into all that now. Suffice to say, with Louie sorted, we left for Madison. The drive was very pleasant. The sun was shining and it was warm, so windows could be opened. Road works are not in full swing yet, so there were few traffic delays.
Twenty minutes outside Madison, I was jolted from my teary remembrances by my ringing mobile. Yes, the happy proud tears and quivering lips had started. It was oldest child, Rian. “Where are you,” he asked? “Just outside Madison.” “What time does the graduation start?” "It starts at 1:30." Rian glumly informed me he had gotten his days mixed up and thought tomorrow was Graduation day. Though I felt his pain through the mobile radio waves, I felt slightly better about my periodic memory lapses. If he got the days mixed up after a stressful week, maybe I’m not as bad as I thought. But I digress! When our conversation ended, I wasn’t sure what his plan was. My mobile rang again. I was shocked, the second time in as many minutes. This for a mobile though regularly charged rarely rings. As a result I keep forgetting my ring tone! It was Ciolagh this time and I confirmed we were only minutes away.
On arrival we checked into the hotel and after the hugs and kisses of greeting, Ciolagh told me she had spoken to Rian. They decided between them driving the five hours to Madison was crazy. He would join us for the planned bar-b-q in La Crosse on Saturday. I was very relieved to hear this news. I had visions of Rian speeding towards Madison, in a mad rush trying to make it to the ceremony on time. It was not a pretty vision! It involved police sirens!
As we parked the car, Ciolagh’s mobile rang. It was Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center. Over the course of the next few minutes, arrangements were made for an interview and pre-interview dinner. This day was getting more memorable for her by the minute.
We had just placed our lunch orders when Dilin sauntered into the restaurant from his statewide dart competition in Wisconsin Dells. I wished he had shaved and wore a shirt and tie, but then that’s Dilin! I made no comment, but at one stage he looked at me with that infectious grin of his and said,” I didn’t know this was a dressy up kinda thing.” “You’re just fine Dilin.” I said grinning back at him. His father on the other hand, immune to the grin had a comment or two, but they fell on deaf ears.
Once lunch was over, it was decided we only needed two cars. Sally and Bob, (Ciolagh's in-laws) would take their car. Dilin, Liam and I would travel with Ciolagh and Kevin. On arriving at the hall we were lucky enough to get seats in the first row of the balcony section. The ceremony took two hours. I spent those two hours crying, more of those happy proud mother tears.
Memories of my girl’s bright cheery enthusiasm flooded my mind’s eye as I watched her cross the stage. The way she skipped in the door of our house in Ring after school, breathless and relate all the day’s doings. Even now as I type tears are welling in my eyes and that ugly mouth contortion thing is going on in an effort to suppress the flood of emotion from spilling over.
My girl has successfully jumped all the hoops and hurdles. Her childhood and student days a memory now. The time has come for her to enjoy the fruits of all the effort and hard work. Fruits she so richly deserves. But for this teary eyed mother, the time has passed too quickly....much too quickly!
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