Chelly steals the show

So, the day I’ve been waiting for has arrived. Two years after I finished my post-graduate Diploma in broadcast journalism at Cardiff uni, and I’m finally graduating.
Chelsea’s been given a red scarf by Mum for the occasion.
My friend picks us up and drives us to City Hall.
I feel really excited as I collect my cap and gown.
I’m incredibly impressed when Mum strides past a man who’s just said to her:
“You don’t need to go in with them! She doesn’t need three people to help her!”
“Ah, but I’m her Mum!”
Goodonya Mum – that put him in his place!
A lovely lady dresses me – I know! How exciting is that? We had to just sort ourselves out when I graduated the first time.
I turn to Mum and say:
“Well, how do I look?”
“Beautiful darling,” snuffles Mum.
We hug.
After heaps of photos in various locations, we arrive at St David’s Hall.
The staff there treat me like a princess.
They’ve been expecting us.
Another friend arrives and we settle down for the ceremony.
My friend Rhod looks after James, as Chelsea is going on to the stage with Mum and I.
This seems fair as she sat through every single lecture with me.
James is fine, whenever I can I lean forward and whisper:
“Good boy!”
“Ladies and gentlemen! Proud Mums and Dads!”
I look at Mum.
We don’t have to say anything to each other.
I wish, not for the first time that day that Dad was with us.
I touch a brooch I’m wearing. It’s a duck which Dad bought for me on a visit to London.
He would be so proud of everything I’ve achieved over the last three years.
After a few rounds of graduates have gone up, Mum and I take our places with everyone in our group.
I don’t know any of them, as I had to graduate at a different time from my friends due to my circumstances at University.
“Well done!” says a girl
I smile and say:
“Thanks, you too!”
Then, I hear my name being called, and Mum, Chelly and I set off along the red carpet towards the Vice-Chancellor.
The sound is phenomenal!
Everyone is cheering, clapping and my two friends are shouting words of encouragement to me.
My friend videoed it and the cheers lasted 30 seconds – longer than for anyone else on the day!
I shake hands with the Vice-Chancellor.
“Congratulations!” he says.
“Thank you!” I say.
Chelsea is wagging her tail.
I’m sure she knows the cheers are for her as well.
“We did it!” I say to Mum afterwards.
“It’s all over! I can’t believe it!”
I’ll remember that day for a long time.
The cheers meant more to me than any of the people making the noise will ever know.
Their acknowledgement means so much to me.
It’s not what I did, it’s how everyone, from stranger to friend made me feel.
I felt accepted, excited and ready for the next chapter!!
I give Chelly a little kiss.
“Well done Chelly! We did it! Thank you for everything!”

Follow my adventures with Chelly and James at:
http://www.twitter.com/nickiandchelly
I’m fundraising for the OCHRE charity which supports people with oesophageal cancer and their friends.
Please consider donating at
http://www.justgiving.com/chelsea2james
or text 70070 with the code chja – you can donate 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 pounds.
Thanks heaps!

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