By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
We awakened at 6:22 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2013 for Anjelica’s IU Bloomington graduation, scheduled for 10:00 a.m. IU was graduating over 4,000 undergraduate students on that day. Students had to be organized to process into Assembly Hall according to their School or College. I trekked into Assembly Hall with streams of other parents at 8:10 a.m. I was directed to entrance G, near the School of Journalism graduates. I saved a seat for my brother.
We listened to the speakers and waited for The Moment. When the Provost announced that the School of Journalism Class of 2013 had fulfilled the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree, Anjelica pulled the burgundy tassel atop her mortar board cap from the right to the left. The number 2013 she had fastened diagonally in clear glass stones across the top of the cap sparkled under the lights of Assembly Hall. Thousands of students of the Class of 2013 stood up to cheer and shout, as did their families.
I tried to hold back joyful tears of four years of watching my daughter navigate the campus I so loved as she made it her own. Four years of observing her transform from a shy introverted first year college student into a poised self-assured young woman. Four years of cheering her on with coursework she embraced. Four years of seeing her make friends, reveling in sorority life, its philanthropy, and in campus jobs. Four years of guarding her from afar with prayers and wishes.
On Friday evening, The School of Journalism hosted a reception for its graduates. It was a pleasure to meet professors whom Anjelica admired so much: The Ernie Pyle scholar with whom she and a select group of students traveled with abroad “In the Footsteps of Ernie Pyle” to London, Paris, and Normandy; the professor from whom she learned much about magazine and newspaper editing; the media lab professor, for whom she has worked as a lab assistant the past year; and the audio story-telling course professor who opened new vistas in radio for my child. After good conversation with these particular professors, I understood better how much they had come to mean to my daughter.
With heartfelt embraces, she and her sorority sisters bid one another adieu. They planned to see each other in their own different states. They helped us pack up both of our SUVs. The rain poured in deluge fashion, soaking us to the bone as we raced up and down the stairs, and back out to the cars, vainly attempting to keep everything dry.
Hungry and thirsty, we decided to grab a bite at Mother Bear’s Pizza, “for auld lang syne”. As I finished my Stromboli and eyed the graffiti scrawled on the wooden walls of the booth, I asked Anjelica if she had carved her name in Mother Bear’s time-honored tradition. She hadn’t. I handed her a pen. Might as well leave a bit for posterity, I replied. She took the pen and immortalized her name on the wall.
We hugged one another, and climbed into our roadsters to commence the long rain-soaked melancholy road north.
Ciao for now.