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.