Dear Evie,

 

On the day that’s in it, I thought I might write you something to let you know how special this is for me. How in the beginning, I wasn’t so sure I could make it this far. But here we are.

 

I want you to know that you were not supposed to make this easy. The ten wild things to do this freshers week leaflet did not include getting pregnant. It’s isn’t exactly recommended; your spontaneous coming was supposed to make the last four years a struggle. Everyone who lives in the real world will say that you should wait to have a child until you are no longer a child yourself. 

 

This is good advice, but it’s not always a reality - and there are other paths. You are proof of that. You have been more than an inspiration, a motivation, a reason for the long hours in the library that made me appreciate any blissful hours spent with you on the weekends.

 

I want you to know how much you are loved by your parents, your family and anyone who made our college experience possible by supporting us. We have so much to be grateful for, but I am mostly grateful for you and the love you have shown me. 

 

I’m scared, too. I’ve been crying non-stop for the last 3 days. Not silent, pretty tears, but heaves of uncontrollable emotion, sitting on the floor of the library bathroom. I thought I was past this. When you were just a peanut, I’d often take a moment to breathe through the pregnancy melt-downs before returning to my desk. I obviously have a little more growing up to do. I heard you say that you have nothing to wear to the conferring, only your “Belle dress” that I got in the Mothercare sale a few weeks ago. You’ll go as Belle and I’ll go as someone who’s ready to grow up. Well both be dressed up as someone else for a few hours.

 

I want to tell the other girls -if they don’t already know it- that they can study too. That anyone can do what I did because having a baby in college is hard, but it’s not impossible. There are so many ways to go about it. My friends who have done the same, are proof that the academic world is open to mothers. 

 

I want to tell them not to worry if they are not what a mother is supposed to look like or if they don’t resemble the other freshers. It doesn’t matter if mammy looks like a sister or a granny or if her hand doesn’t sparkle with a priceless rock because what we have is priceless. What you have given me and your daddy and your family is priceless. And what they have given us is priceless too. No matter how difficult it can be sometimes, you and I are the lucky ones… we are loved. Be thankful to those who have given us this love and support- especially Granny!

 

So today, when we throw our caps in the air, you will be running around the grounds of campus ruining your outfit and trying to escape as your auntie chases you. Your face will beam in the autumn sun and mine will beam with pride because you are mine and we did this together.

 

 

I don’t care if you choose not to study or if you choose to do things differently than I did. As long as you get to choose. As long as the doors are open for you, as they were for me.

 

Lots of love,

 

Mam

Anna Murray is an Irish student mum to one little girl.

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