Fourteen years ago, we were living in North Carolina, and it was a very hot summer afternoon. We had not turned the air conditioning on for some time and my sister was the only one that was amiable with the flies. I was probably hangry , and very annoyed at the buzzing and the heat, so I got angry at my mother. I must have made her upset (I don’t exactly remember what happened between being hot and angry and my father pulling me aside). I followed my father to my bedroom and we sat on the very edge- maybe we were hoping that being closer to the edge would increase the chances of catching a breeze. I was also scared he would be upset and I would have to slide off the bed to go cry in the bathroom. But he had pulled me aside to share with me the story of why parents had come to the United States; of my mother’s passion and commitment to my life, and her desire to be a part of every moment and milestone that I would stumble upon. When I began to grow with and within her, he told me, she was afraid only because she realized dreams could be held. And she chose to hold me with him, and put [insert ivy league school here] on hold.

That evening is not very different from today. It is very hot, and I am hangry. There is nobody to be amiable with the flies, however.The days are troubling times. Time overwhelmed with adversity and injustice- and we are marked by chaos. I’ve just gotten up from having my face pressed on my fan, laughing at the robotic voice my words took as John Denver and I sang together. Today is also my mother’s first day of classes.

A few months ago, as we were in the transition of deciding where our family should be/go, my mother turned and looked at me: … I cannot expect either of you three to fly and pursue your dreams, if I don’t also fly. I think I am going to go back to school.

So she is sitting in a classroom right now, very overwhelmed about all the technical information she’s been memorizing (she probably has the whole student handbook memorized by now…) and full of the anxiety (she would never confess to this) one experiences when we are reminded that dreaming continues, and it is tangible.

In honor of her courage and leadership, I share this with you.