I have been to many graduations, from junior high school level to college, and had the pleasure of attending my son’s police academy graduation. I have never attended a nursing graduates pinning ceremony, until today. For my first, I attended my younger daughter’s graduation and pinning ceremony.
This has been a long and arduous journey for my youngest child. Adriel entered college as a 17 year old. She chose a path in nursing several years before that when she began volunteering at the hospital as a young teen. It was a wise move for a girl who wanted to see if nursing was compatible with who she was becoming. This was a decision that surprised me initially. As I’ve shared previously, Adriel gagged as a very young girl if I said the word “snot” in her proximity. And if someone actually sneezed in her presence and produced snot….well, I’d have a mess to clean up, her stomach was so sensitive.
There were hints, though, as she grew older, that that sensitivity was lessening. I have this precious picture of her, at the age of four, reclined on my desk, studying a cow’s eyeball as it was cupped in her hand. She was fascinated. In our homeschool studies, she was the child who eagerly dissected frogs, worms and fish, without a hint of gagging. The other kids gladly passed on their dissecting specimens to her.
The volunteering at Freeman Hospital suited her well. She showed up once a week for years, delivering flowers, taking patients to their rooms, soothing people with her calm yet practical form of compassion. Those years of experience were a green light for her, and after she graduated from high school, she earnestly began pursing her dream of becoming a nurse.
Life has presented challenges as she journeyed toward her goal. My now grown girl worked full time and put herself through college, one semester at a time. Her dad and I offered some financial support, but Adriel handled this expense herself for the most part. She completed the prerequisites, one by one, with an eye toward applying to the nursing program. This is not an easy feat, being accepted into nursing school. Overall grades have to be at a certain level. Required classes have to be taken with a high grade obtained. And there are many other requirements. Adriel never wavered from what she wanted. She always researched what she needed to do and then set about bringing her plan into reality, one step at a time. Adriel received her Certified Nursing Assistant certification and began working as a nurse tech at Freeman Hospital as she continued her education.
The day she was accepted into Crowder College’s nursing program was a huge accomplishment. And then the difficult part really began. Nursing school is hard! The classes, the amount of studying, the clinicals, the days spent meeting the stringent requirements while working nights at the hospital every weekend took physical and mental endurance. I learned so much from my daughter, watching her persist, watching her work hard, watching her as she refused to allow challenges to get in the way of her plans. So many would have given up. So many would have said it was too hard.
Today was the culmination of years of studying, working, learning and growing. Adriel graduated this morning from Crowder College with an Associate of Science, Nursing degree. That in itself was a thrilling moment, watching her in her black cap and gown, with the white banner for nursing, as she walked across the stage to receive her degree. The teary moment came after lunch. With 17 family members and friends present, Adriel received her nurse’s pin in the pinning ceremony. Her dad, Greg, and I had the honor of meeting her on stage to actually pin the button to her white scrub top. What an emotional moment! I was filled with pride and joy and a sense of gratitude to see this part completed.
As I was carefully fastening the pin to Adriel’s shirt, her words of thanks were being read by a staff member. I was so focused on the pinning, and on hugging and kissing Adriel, that I missed most of what Adriel had written. I am so thankful for her friend, Sara, who captured the moment on video. I got to listen after the ceremony, and be teary eyed all over again.
Next month, Adriel will take her Board Exams. I have no doubt at all that she will fly through this part. And then my sweet girl will be a Registered Nurse, with many career opportunities ahead of her. Congratulations, Adriel! No one deserves this more than you. I love you so much!