Friday, June 13, 2008

Surprise Yourself

Last night I sat in an audience of about three hundred and watched my mother, Dr. Mary Thompson, deliver the commencement address for the GED graduating class of Joplin, Missouri. Well, I shouldn't say I sat. I stood, taking pictures, and making the kinds of hooting sounds I haven't made since high school Powder Puff.

You see, my mother happens to be the most amazing woman on the planet--dropped out of high school to marry my very charming hippie-at-the-time of a pappy, popped out my brother and me, and then, hey, heck, why not work full time at the Steak and Ale, get a GED and then crank out college in two and a half years so I can get through med school all before reaching the quarter of a century mark?
We were on the drive from Tulsa to Jo-Mo, and I was telling her how proud she should be of herself. I mean, I can't even mention her without gushing, and it made me a little sad because she told me sometimes her story embarrasses her. Sometimes, I wish I had just done it the ordinary way, she said. This from the least ordinary woman I've ever known.

Her speech had a recurring theme: surprise yourself. She told the audience, surprise yourself and everybody you love. She talked about how how everyone was so surprised when she decided to go to college and then everyone was so surprised when she changed her major to pre-med and how they kept being surprised as she succeeded over and over. All this and five children and great legs and a sense of humor that makes my abs hurt if I hang out with her more than two days in a row.

Anyway, it was amazing. And I've never felt prouder of anyone in my life than I felt of her last night. Here's a pic. Cody's grandmother (on the far left) was a few points short of getting her GED (she'll get it next year!), but that's what got this whole ball rolling. And then there's my mom, my little sister, me and my fab mother-in-law.
After the ceremony, we stood in the parking lot with the loveliest of Missouri breezes blowing and popped cake balls. Oh, cake balls...but that's another post entirely. Congratulations, mom, on such a beautiful job. Keep surprising us. We can only hope we might surprise you too.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's very easy to see how you turned out so well.... you should be just as proud as your mama :)
Hol

Erryn said...

I have always found your momma's life story to be fascinating. She is certainly someone that should be admired by all.

On a side note I'd like to point out how stunning you look in that picture. They say a pregnant woman has a glow about her but I think you have taken it to a new level. Absolutely gorgeous!

jen said...

friend....your stories of life with mary always sounded so unbelievable. so full of pack-the-car-with-all-we-cherish-and-go. so full of tiny trees at christmas time and who loves you babies. i always loved hearing those stories.

more amazing than the stories (and coming to the clear understanding that they were all true true true...) was meeting your sweet mama and getting to see that spunk and love all up close and personal.

and now, for her next trick...there's you and brother joe and all those little ones growing big in oklahoma, a tiny fruit-sized one growing big in you, and then the whole wide world being touched by it all...

i love you, love your mama, and i am most proud of you both!

little miss mel said...

Wow, how inspiring.

Kudos to your mom!! 5 kids is impressive enough, let alone the degree etc...

kate said...

this post brought tears to my eyes! i love your mama. no wonder you turned out so well.

Anonymous said...

Nicole,
What a surprise!!! I cried when I read this, I love you and the little one so much. hank you very much!
MOM

Joe Hefner said...

I wish I had been there with you to hear Mom and stand proudly by her...I'm proud of you too mom...and I'm glad you did it the way you did...it's been a lot of fun!

Very Charming Hippie Pappy said...

Congratulations Mary... I'm proud of you too! Wish we could have been there for the commencement speech!

Linsey said...

Congratulations, Mary!!!! great story... HERstory- success!! ...Best, linsey miller

Eugene Trantam said...

Hello Hefner siblings! It is me Eugene Trantham. I am just working here in Caldwell County North Carolina

Nicole you are as pretty as ever!

If you see this Joe contact me at

aerimus13@yahoo.com