Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mom's Goodbye

A couple of my posts last week were related to goodbyes, and this is one more goodbye blog that actually should have been posted many days ago. However, this one wasn't such a sad goodbye. Last Tuesday, I went to a surprise party for my mom Sherry, thrown by her colleagues at Emporia State University. Mom has been teaching at ESU in the Counselor Education Department for the last several years, and although she really loves teaching and loves a lot of the people she works with, she decided that this year would be her last at Emporia. Mom was making the extremely boring one hour commute from Topeka to Emporia several times a week, and then one night a week she was also going to a satellite campus in Kansas City to teach a class. As you can imagine, it was exhausting--especially since Mom is just a couple of years out from her surgery and chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. I kept telling her that I would have been exhausted with that schedule too--and I'm 26 years younger than she is!

So thankfully, Mom decided to move on to something else next year (although she doesn't know what yet), and her very sweet friends at Emporia decided to surprise her (and another colleague who was leaving) with a going away party. The department administrative assistant called Chad and I a couple of weeks ago and asked if we could come, which I thought was so thoughtful! Chad had a staff meeting that he couldn't miss, but I went to Topeka and picked up Mom's significant other Cliff, and we made the (extremely boring) drive to the ESU campus. We arrived a little early, so I ducked into the bathroom to make a pit stop before finding out where the party was going to be. Cliff's ducking abilities weren't quite up to par, because just seconds later he got snagged by my mom just down the hallway from her office! She was slightly concerned and very surprised to see him there, but he covered well and said that he was just in the neighborhood on his Harley and decided to come take her to lunch. I could hear her voice outside the bathroom, so I hid in the stall for a few more minutes before sneaking back out into the hall where her coworkers directed me into the decorated conference room.

After about 15 minutes, Mom came in for the "staff meeting," only to be surprised by a bunch of random guests. It was kind of funny, because she actually scanned the room a couple of times and looked right past me before it dawned on her that her daughter was there! She was super surprised--I only wish I could have gotten a picture of her face when she walked in! As we all went around the room and introduced ourselves, people were saying "I'm John, and I'm a professor of blah blah blah," and when it was Mom's turn she just said "I'm Sherry, and I'm shocked." It was so cute.

So I got to spend the afternoon eating snacks and meeting all of Mom's wonderful friends in the department--people who I'd been hearing her talk about for years. It was a little strange, because I felt like I knew them all already since I'd heard so much about them! I made a point of getting lots of pictures (big shocker) with Mom and all of her friends during the party and while I was getting the grand tour of the building. It was really a wonderful afternoon and I was so thankful to have been invited!

As nice as the people were and as great as the department was, I'm really glad my mom won't be working there again next year. Just having to make that commute one day was exhausting for me. Did I mention that it was extremely boring?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well,I finally got in here again. Thank you so much for the album. I have a lot of mixed feelings about leaving, for sure. I have to say that for the most part very rarely was I bored when I was driving. =) And, I got a lot of thinking done. I also enjoyed the seasons of the year. I got to see alot of "mother-natures" work. But, my body and sometimes my mind was sooooooo tired. These pictures will always remind me why I did have fun with my colleagues...I am sooo glad you were there. =) Love you, mom