hope and tiger1Graduation…Hope did it! She got the ring, got the certificate, got the Alumni status—woohoo! And we get a raise—sort of!

What a time of reminiscing it has been. I think I’ve been in denial that her 4 years as a Clemson student are really coming to an end.

Graduation week for me began with a visit to meet a mom of a new baby girl with Down syndrome. God is so good, isn’t he!! He allowed me to hold that beautiful, new baby girl and take a trip back in time, remembering how far Hope has come, remembering those fears that I had when she was born….fears that she would have no friends, that she would be made fun of, that she would never speak, that she would never be employed and would never have any self confidence.

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The “Ring”

I’m sure I probably overwhelmed this mom because I was bubbling over with excitement as I told her about all the great experiences Hope was having in college. I can only imagine that this new baby will experience even greater opportunities when she’s Hope’s age.

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Hope with brother Davis

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Aunt Swain and Hope

On graduation day, all 4 of the graduates gave their speeches, each with much confidence and enthusiasm—their lives having been completely changed by this journey to college. What if we, as parents, would have let our fears guide our plans for their future? What if we hadn’t loosened that grip, releasing them to experience this “next step?” Their path and future would look differently. They have created resumes at Clemson. They are contributing members of society. Now, we just need others to believe in them.

So what’s next? Three of these graduates will remain in Clemson, working in the community, enjoying their social lives with close friends and mentoring incoming ClemsonLIFE students. Hope is one that will return to Clemson in the fall. Her life will look a little different next year. No more classes, just work and volunteer activities. She will be on her own, but she will remain part of a close-knit community that loves and supports its students, holds them accountable and has the x-ray vision of “Mama Bear.” There’s something special in Tiger Town—even my gamecock husband sees it.

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Marion Cousins


McNairs, Banks’ and Mom-Mom

Graduation is a time of gratitude and celebration—giving thanks for all of the family, friends,
mentors, and volunteers that have been a part of all of our children’s journeys. As parents, we can’t do it alone. Last week at the graduation luncheon, I told our extended family how much we appreciated all that they had done for Hope since she was born. Then I quickly said, “But don’t go anywhere because you are not done. We are just getting started!”

Stay tuned for the Diva’s adventures after college….

Thank you Clemson University and Go Tigers!



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