To all you wonderful moms of Graceland students, now and in the future:
First and foremost, Happy Mother’s Day! It’s kind of unbelievable that we only dedicate one day of the year specifically to you, considering all you do. You raised healthy, smart, ambitious young people who all influence Graceland and make it a better place to be every day. Without you, there is no Graceland in its current form, so, for that, we (or at least me) thank each and every one of you.
What I think most incoming freshman to Graceland – but really to any university – underestimate is just how much you will miss your parents; especially your mom. With all the hustle bustle and excitement of moving away from home and starting college, sometimes students’ emotions are so overwhelmed that they get lost in them. But eventually that feeling will come. For me, it was the first time I had to do my laundry at school. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do my own laundry, or even wanted someone else to do it. It was just a really strong reminder that my mom wasn’t here. Growing up in Toronto and having my mom live 1,000 miles away, it really took a toll on me. Not to say that those who live closer have it any different. It’s always hard leaving home.
Luckily, Graceland makes it a whole lot easier.
For a Mother’s Day blog, I thought it would best to talk to my mom and get her opinion on Graceland and what her GU Mom experience is like.
My mom, Karen Chapley (nee McConvey) and me. Isn’t she pretty?
Karen is a mother of three plus a dog (some would say four) and, of those three, two are currently in University and one is headed off to University in the fall. I was the first (Graceland Pride), and my younger sisters go to much larger universities. My mom finds comfort in Graceland. Here’s what she had to say.
(If you can, try and read this in a Canadian accent for the most accurate understanding of the quote:)
“Graceland is really different. It’s not something I expected when I dropped you off. Leaving you in a different country was, and still is, really, really hard. But Graceland does a lot of things right in my eyes. Administration is extremely accessible, and, when you get them on the phone, they actually care. You have a way better relationship with your professors; they want you to succeed, and I know you want to succeed for them. That accountability does wonders. Things like that put my heart at rest.”
My mom’s heart being at rest takes a lot of pressure off of me. But there’s a lot more to Graceland, so I asked her what she thought of the social aspects of Graceland. (Again, a Canadian accent is helpful here.)
“Well, it clouded my judgment, to be honest. You made friends on your hall (Cheville) so quickly and were so social so immediately that I just felt that’s kind of how things are in college these days. It wasn’t until a year later when I dropped your sister off at Dalhousie college… she took much longer to get out and socialize, so it really worried me. Your Hogwarts House really helped you and I didn’t realize how valuable it was.”
By “Hogwarts House,” she means the Graceland “House” system, which greatly resembles the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’s style.
When I needed to wrap up the phone call and head back to work, I asked her for some final thoughts. What she told me is something that I think all moms can appreciate and come to love about Graceland.
“You are never not going miss your kid. Its just not going to happen, I promise. There is no place in the world that you are going to drop your son off for 4 years and not miss him terribly. But, if they say that raising a child takes a village, Lamoni was that village. Everyone is there for each other, and Graceland takes care of its own. The town is always willing to work for each other, whether it’s Hy-Vee delivering care packages for me or the bank always being able to help. It made the transition easier than I thought it would… I’m thankful for that.”
And I’m thankful for that, too. To know my mother rests easier because of the situation Graceland and Lamoni has made for us makes me rest easier as well. So, to all you mothers of Graceland who don’t get to visit “the Hill” as often as you want to, just know your babies are in good hands.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Carter Chapley ’17