"Are you sure we can park here?" I turn to Bry adjusting my dress in the car as we park. "The parking around here has so many rules." I add.
"Yes, we can. Don't worry, we have plenty of time" he responds as he successfully parallel parks.
The butterflies have taken refuge in my stomach as the motor stops purring. Removing the keys from the ignition, he tosses them into my lap.
"Put them in your purse, would ya?" he says, slamming the car door.
I can't help but notice the throngs of people passing on the street, as I step out of the car onto the city sidewalk. The need for directions is moot, as many are on the same pilgrimage.
Families walk, pride across their face as they pass the regular workday commuters consumed by cell phones and routine. I hold back the urge to grab a passing stranger and share my excitement and pride. The feeling is overwhelming, as we make our way down the cement sidewalk.
Thirteen years of primary schooling, then four years of undergraduate work, one year of post-baccalaureate, then four years of medical school and now here we are waiting for the stroll across the stage and the piece of paper.
This final act changing the Miss to Doctor.
Reaching the front of the Center, our final destination, I attempt to scan the crowd for a familiar face. Unfortunately, my vision is overwhelmed.
"Jac" I hear the disembodied familiar voice yell. "We're over here."
It is in these situations I am thankful for tall and big husband and he easily located my family. Walking forward, the crowd appears to part as I follow close behind.
"Can you believe this crowd?" my mom laments. Her anxiety reads across her face. "It's going to be hard to find seats."
"I'm not worried" I say, "We've got dad on our side!"
They laughs and nod in agreement, then continue to wait.
As the doors open and the throngs gravitate to the doors and stairways leading to the balcony.
"Keep your dad in sight" my mom insists, as he makes his way through the crowd. Easily he finds his way to the front of the crowd, going up the stairs, he disappears into the auditorium.
Holding on to each other, we patiently follow behind. Slowly ascending the staircase, and entering into the balcony, my father's voice echos.
"Over here! I've got enough seats for us all". he screams across the collection of rows.
The heat rises up my cheeks as I navigate the rows to the seats my father has secured. Embarrassment is an emotion he seems to lack.
Sitting down, I have the first opportunity to read the program. My fingers trace the embossed logo. College of Medicine Commencement the program reads.
Tears fill my eyes, as I open the beige pages. Following along the rows of names, I search. Listed under those who secured the requirements for medical doctorate, it is there in black and white.
My little sister is a doctor.
The graduation ceremony is a blur. During the various speeches and honorary doctorates I am thankful for the stash of mints held in my purse, and decide against a game of hangman with Bry at one exceedingly long and boring speech. After two hours, the announcement rings that hooding will begin, and a buzz overtakes the crowd. The time has arrived.
I steal a glance at my parents. Dabbing her eyes with a tissue, the tears well up easily today for my mother. The emotions are overwhelming. While he finds himself in a precarious position over the side of the balcony. My father often attempts to find the perfect place for a photo, and today is no different.
Looking down into the sea of black robes, I spy her curly hair tamed under the black cap. She looks up to us, and for a moment, her smile meets mine.
Walking across the stage, her name is announced. Arriving before her professor, she turns and faces the audience. The green hood is placed over her shoulders.
This post was initially written June 2011, and edited today. The topic "Success" was the inspiration for this week's Dare to Share link at the Lightening and the Lightning Bug. Immediately, my mind returned to this moment, and the pride I felt as I watched my little sister graduate medical school.