It’s not every day you get to see your son become a rocket scientist. I knew this would be a memorable day for my family for sure, but little did I know how memorable. This past weekend my oldest son graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical-Aerospace Engineering. My husband and I, along with my in-laws, drove the 2 1/2 hour drive on Friday, the afternoon before graduation, to spend the night in the hotel on campus so we wouldn’t be so rushed driving and getting to the graduation the next day. Other family members were to join us at graduation the following day. We had a nice dinner that night with both our sons (our youngest is a freshman at the same university).
I was the typical mother of the graduate…. bursting with pride at my first born’s achievements. I was proud of him for all the hard work he had accomplished, and I was so happy for him. Thanks to a wonderful middle school science teacher, Ms. Paula Lansford, he discovered a passion for aerospace in his middle school years which was further developed when she encouraged him at age 13 to attend a NASA U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. It was an impressive program to say the least and one in which both my sons attended, loved, and learned a great deal at. They still talk about it 8 years later.
We met up with our graduate-to-be and got a few quick pictures before the ceremony before he had to go inside to get instructions and to line up.
Just a few minutes after these photos were taken, my mother-in-law took a bad fall down some metal bleacher steps. She fell fast and she fell hard. Nearby event staff came running and summoned emergency medical personnel. She was complaining of shoulder/arm pain and she was dripping blood from a good-sized chin laceration. The lens of her glasses were knocked out when she hit and she bit her tongue. We were careful not to move her until the paramedics arrived. They had a hard time convincing my mother-in-law that she needed to be transported to the emergency room at the local hospital. She told them she wanted to stay and watch her grandson graduate. They assured her the ceremony would be recorded and that a graduation DVD would be available for purchasing and viewing. When they finally got her into a standing position to walk her the few steps down to the stretcher, everyone around clapped. I felt like I was at a football game where the stadium erupts into applause when the injured player arises and hobbles off the field. The last thing my mother-in-law said to me was for my husband and me to stay and enjoy the graduation. Bless her. My father-in-law rode in the ambulance to the hospital and my husband’s sister’s family followed behind the ambulance.
We took a few more photos after graduation and then celebrated with dinner out and then a graduation cake back on campus. My husband left after dinner to join other family members at the hospital.
At the hospital, they did a CT scan of my mother-in-law’s head (we were told it was standard procedure for anyone over 60, plus she was complaining of dizziness). They did multiple X-rays of her shoulder and right hand. She ended up with a comminuted and avulsion fracture of the tubercle of her left humerus (her shoulder) and fractured 2 fingers of her right hand and the pinky finger of her left hand. She had multiple bruises and of course had to have the chin laceration sutured. She was released from the ER that evening and got to see her grandson for a short time before we headed back home and even ate a piece of graduation cake.
Needless to say, it was a graduation day we will never forget. On one hand, it was filled with much happiness and pride, but on the other hand, it was also filled with much fear and trepidation. While I was so sorry my mother-in-law fell, hated that she sustained severe injuries, and regretted that she and my father-in-law and other family members had to miss the ceremony, I tried to “enjoy” my son’s big day as much as I possibly could. It was my first December graduation to ever attend and I liked the way they brought a little Christmas spirit into the celebration. The stage was decorated with Poinsettias, and they had a concert band on stage (a very good one I might add) who played Christmas music which was nice. The speeches were short and sweet but at the same time very meaningful with a bit of humor thrown in which I liked (and needed).
My mother-in-law has a long road ahead of her as far as healing and recovering from this fall. I am just thankful she is a pretty tough person for her age. I don’t think a lot of people her age would have survived a hard fall like that. I can’t get the very loud sound of her falling down those metal bleachers out of my head. I pray to God for speed in her healing and recovery and for minimal pain as she endures some tough physical therapy ahead of her.
Yep, this graduation day was a memorable one indeed. And I think it’s time for me to go order that graduation DVD now.