Watching my baby brother graduate from college. After not completing high school and moving in with my husband and I for a year and a half to get his life together, watching him cross the stage 2 years later was amazing.
Yes I cried and took a few dozen pictures. I was also 8.5 months pregnant so I might have cried a lot. But each and every one of my tears was of joy and pride over watching the resiliency of another.
You see, my brother was beaten up so badly 5 years ago that he was put into a coma and suffers from brain damage to his short term memory. This in someone who didn't like school to start off with and who struggled to maintain a C average. The challenges he faced in going back were pretty intense and yet, he really wanted it and he did it. With As and Bs.
When he moved in with us he could barely go out in public without trembling he was that much of a mess. And I was worried that he was potentially showing signs of schizophrenia, which runs in his family (he is adopted). When he first moved in with us, I wasn't sure if he'd make it and pull his shit together. I have never prayed or worried for anyone as much as I worried and prayed for him in that first year. He gave me a glimpse of how intense a journey parenthood was going to be and honestly, sort of scared me off of it for a while!
But, in the time that he lived with us, he came out, overcame his social anxiety, learned coping mechanisms for his memory, figured out what he wanted to do in his life, and sought out a program that would offer him the skills he needed.
So when he crossed that stage at 23, I have never been prouder of anyone in my life. He earned each and every one of my tears of joy and pride, even if it meant that I was 8.5 months pregnant and crying in public like a crazy lady.