But sometimes they don't.
I turned the shower into a rainstorm. An absolute downpour. I stood with my face in the stream, coming in so fast that I hardly had time to get a breath before my mouth filled with warm, soothing, cleansing water. And as I stood there, barely breathing, I remembered something.
We were sitting in Stats 121 auditorium last semester, waiting among 700 other students for class to start. "I love seeing the moms go back to school," she said, as a woman in her 30s walked down the aisle a few rows down. The truth of that statement resonated within me. I remembered a time before.
Sitting outside the testing center--panicked as I studied for my first test of college. More like crammed. More like stared blankly at the heaping pile of notes I had yet to memorize. Somehow, through the frenzy, I entered a conversation with another freshman girl and a back-to-school mom. She made the both of us swear that we would graduate now, that we wouldn't let anything stop us. "Don't let those boys sweet talk you finishing later," she counseled us, "And do NOT start popping out those babies until you have graduated." Finish now, she told us. Before we have a family to look over, and bigger bills to pay. Before we're asked to commit to more than planning a church activity once a semester. Before life gets even crazier. And, as she spoke, I remembered something else.
I remembered my mom, being that very same. She was once the back-to-school mom. She was the one walking down the aisles of the classroom, waiting for class to begin. She was the one sitting outside the testing center, dreading walking up those two flights of stairs and handing over her student ID card. She may have been counseling young girls like me, I don't know. But what I do know is that with every step that she took on this very campus, she was an example and a source of strength to everyone around her--especially the young girls, just starting out and feeling very overwhelmed. I know because that is what those moms are to me now. They're a symbol of hope, in a way. They remind me that I can do it, that there is a very real and a very important purpose in it all. That life will certainly get harder, but it will also get better. They remind me that beauty always increases, and that we never stop seeking growth in ourselves--not for anything.
When my mom graduated from Brigham Young University, I was in middle school, and I didn't fully appreciate the enormity of what she had just accomplished. I got a new dress, we took a billion pictures, and we probably celebrated with a delicious meal at some point or another. It was an exciting day, and, despite the fact that I had no idea what she overcame, I was proud of my mom.
I've never been one to draw strength from those that came before me. I guess it was never much comfort knowing that someone else could do something, because their circumstances and situations and entire persons were completely different than mine. But as I stood there, face aimed straight into the shower head, tears of gratitude mixed in with the water pouring down my face. I thought of those moms--I thought of my mom--and I knew that I was strong enough. I knew that there was a purpose. I knew that I not only could overcome, but there was a reason to overcome. That I am working towards something bigger and more beautiful than what I have eyes to see right now.
For the first time in my life, I have found comfort, power, and motivation in the words, "If she can do it, so can I." So thank you, Mom, for living the rainstorm that washed away my doubts. You have shaped me in more ways than you know.