We had such a fun weekend celebrating Erin, my niece, graduating from college with a BSN. I left Friday morning taking the back way to Chattanooga. That drive no matter what time of year holds such beauty and wonder. The trees haven't turned their dark green summer color yet, so the diverse shades of greens is always a spectacular view. I decided to stay in our regular Holiday Inn Express because of the familiarity of the area and the ease in which we feel there. The staff are always so friendly and from the lobby up everything feels so clean. I arrived and had about an hour to relax and change clothes. I was meeting my brother at his hotel downtown for the pinning ceremony at the Episcopal church very near the UTC campus. There were several wrecks on I 24 and so Tahlula Toyota GPS girl gave me an alternate route which was kind of out of the way yet it was rather quick. Doug and I met everyone at the church for the ceremony. Megan and Nancy had secured a front pew where we could see everything.
Erin looked beautiful, as always, in her graduation gown and cords. It is difficult not to sit there and remember that beautiful woman as a young eight year old girl, running about, with a skanky mall hair extension attached to her own beautiful hair. The fact that she looked to Megan many times to gauge what her reaction should be to surprises or good news as a child. She has an awesome sense of humor, I like to think she got some of that from me, and she loved Lucy as much as I did. I think I also instilled the love of the Nord and a good pedicure to her and to Megan. As it needs to be as she grew up I knew less of her life in high school and college but I knew enough of her to know she was doing good. One of my favorite times was a couple of years ago when Roy couldn't go to the Biltmore and I asked if she would like to join me for the week there. So there she was getting her nurse pin and how appropriate that Nancy, her mom, who is also a nurse, got to pin her. The bonus for me, I now have the International Nurse Pledge which I will take with me to any hospital stay from now on and review it with the nurses, just in case they have forgotten.
Knowing that I have only so much energy, I opted out of the dinner afterwards and headed back to the hotel to relax and enjoy a Domino's Pizza. The hotel was at full capacity with guests attending graduations and there was a large group staying there attending a big wedding. Lots of Texas license plates in the parking lot. They had put me on the fourth floor and at first I wasn't thrilled with that but the front desk lady explained they put all the groups on the bottom three floors and the fourth floor would be quieter. The trouble I anticipated waiting for an elevator never even occurred. I was able to have a leisurely morning because graduation wasn't until 1:00. Once again I met Doug at his hotel and we took Uber over to the arena and that is the way to go. UTC did a fabulous job of getting those graduates across the stage in a timely manner. Showing how times have changed, the graduation times divided the different colleges of study, so health/science and business were the 1:00 with masters and doctorates. Several years ago it would have been business graduates outnumbering the other groups but they only had around 175, whereas health/science had 319. We took pictures afterwards and we went our ways until 5:00 when we met for a celebration dinner. Such fun! An added bonus, I discovered more shops and restaurants that I never knew existed so close to our hotel. Even made a trip to Barnes and Noble after we had dinner. There was also a Home Goods, but I opted for the early night and good parking place at the hotel. Yes, I have gotten old.
Sunday morning I was able to leave around 9:00 and have church on the drive back toward home. Ah, God's creation. I had planned to stop at the Piggly Wiggly in Ducktown but it looked closed. I did stop at a produce stand, one which Roy and I had stopped at previously in years past. We quit going there because the two women who owned it, fought all the time and the chance of a tomato fight breaking out seemed imminent. There must be new ownership because neither of them were around and it was a rather dull stop and purchase. I arrived home around 1:00. There was hardly any traffic and that surprised me because it is the beginning of white water rafting season in the Oocoee and in the Natahala. Buddy was sure happy to see me and I was happy to see her.
Ran to the grocery store in the late afternoon and then texted the girls to see how the skydiving went. That was a present from Doug to them. They sent me the you tube videos. Man, my hands were sweating watching them. They did fabulous!
This Mother's Day seemed a little more poignant to me. Guess it is the fact that both girls are adulting now. It will be harder to see them as they have jobs and commitments. It's like we have traded places, now I am more available with a flexible schedule with long Christmas vacation and summers off. A couple of times I stopped myself before or in mid sentence in conversation with Erin and Megan...remembering those times I have loved but that is it, we have turned a corner. It is as it should be...they have their lives ahead of them. They need and should be with their friends and only occasionally give a shout out to the kooky aunt. My goodness, I am not that ancient that I remember back then it was all about friends. Some adults don't make the turn and they make those around them miserable. It is my vow not to be one of those kinds of relatives. Don't get me wrong, I will be there if they need me. Roy and I are so proud of the women these two have become. So I had that moment combined with thinking of my mom and how much I miss her. There isn't a day that goes by without a thought of her especially here in the spring time. Right before I left on Friday a brilliant flash of red landed in the butterfly tree-looked in the window at me, flapped his wings and he was off. I have heard of those who believe a cardinal is a visit from someone in heaven, so I like to think that was a visit from mom. Then on my way home I stopped at the rest stop in Andrews. It is so beautifully landscaped and a creek runs behind it. I walked to the back of the deck and there sat a beautiful red cardinal. Yep, I will take it! A little visit from mom whether it is true or not, it's a lovely thing to see.