Every Hoo Has a Story: ‘You’re the Best, Mom.’

May 10, 2024 By Mike Mather, mike.mather@virginia.edu Mike Mather, mike.mather@virginia.edu

If you’ve been keeping up with our coverage of fourth-year students getting ready to graduate, you’re familiar with our series, “Every Hoo Has a Story.” That’s where we set out a pair of chairs on the Lawn and randomly intercept graduating students to hear their stories.

One question we asked this year: “Who is most responsible for getting you to this point?”

The overwhelming answer – and most fitting this Mother’s Day weekend – was “mom.”

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“My mom raised both of us on our own,” said Ava MacBlane, referring to herself and her twin sister, “and I can’t imagine how she did it some days.”

“My mom was big on family dinners,” MacBlane continued, “and I just remember my sister and I would, blah, blah, blah, just yap and yap about our days and our friends, and little silly things, for an hour, but my mom always listened. She never unloaded her workday on us, even though I am sure she had a lot of stressful days.”

It’s only now that MacBlane, who is cooking and cleaning for herself, is starting to understand the hard work her mother put in.

“At the end of a long day, I now wonder, ‘How did you sit down with two 13-year-olds and just let us talk for an hour and not unload your own stress?’ I just have really good memories of her listening and being there and letting us be kids,” MacBlane said.

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Adriana Gao remembers her mother, a company vice president, striding into their home at the end of the business day.

“She was such a big influence for me when I was growing up,” Gao said. “Seeing her walk into the house in her suit and her heels, or with a briefcase, was definitely a very formative early memory for me.”

And, Gao said, her mother always supported her adventures.

“She has just been my biggest cheerleader when I wanted to try ballet, try the piano, try all sorts of different things that led to being the kind of person I am today,” she said.

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Tyler Busch told us he draws inspiration from his grandmother.

“She’s always the person who motivates me,” Busch said. “She may not know it, but it’s her.”

When Busch’s parents went to work, he went to his grandmother’s. “She was my first teacher, really,” he said, recalling lessons on the alphabet, flash cards, and instilling in him family rules and values.

His upcoming graduation will, he says, be the end of a shared journey with his grandmother. “She gave me all the love and support along the way, without even knowing it.”

So, here’s to all the Hoos’ moms who got their kids to the finish line. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Media Contact

Mike Mather

Managing Editor University Communications