MONIQUE BATSON — High school graduation is special time for mother & son

Published 12:04 am Friday, May 19, 2023

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You clung to me on your first day of kindergarten. As we stood on a mat of multicolored squares, I held you and told you everything would be OK while trying my best not to cry.

But the minute I hit the car, the tears came.

I was 23 when I learned you were coming. I knew nothing about babies. Your older siblings were toddlers when I met them. I had never dealt with a brand new baby. I had killed every house plant I’d ever had. Surely God made a mistake or was busy dealing with a crisis every time I killed a cactus.

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But you kicked for the first time at 2 a.m. on my 24th birthday. You were real. You were here. And we were going to learn together.

You entered this world fighting. Your spent your first week in the neonatal intensive care unit. But I was there every three hours as allotted to hold you for the 15 minutes I was allowed. I rocked you and took in every sight and scent of you.

Over the next few years, you would become the child who watched so much “Blues Clues” that blue was the only color I could recognize. Every night I rocked you to sleep singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” because the baby books said you’d eventually associate the song with bedtime, and the baby books were a Bible to me. But on particularly bad days, we sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Because even though you were too young to understand, I wanted you to know there was nothing outside of your reach.

Now my first-born baby with the temporary speech impediment who created his own language is graduating Thursday. And while you eventually got the help you needed to speak normally, you found your talent without words. You chose to major in American Sign Language, and watching you sign is like witnessing art.

There isn’t enough space here to go through every memory I have of your life. But there is just enough to let you know how proud I am of you. Every time you were met with a challenge, you practiced in your spare time to get what you wanted. In addition, you grew to be a kind and caring young man who gained the respect of so many.

Riley and I make the joke so often that it’s your world and we’re just living in it. Every time I go to PNGHS, I’m greeted by a dozen or more kids who say, “Hi, Colby’s Mom.”

And it’s one of the highest honors anyone could give me.

In six days, you’ll cross that football field. But this time it won’t be holding a bass drum. Instead, you’ll be holding a ticket to your future.

I spent years worrying whether or not I was right for you. Today I hold my head high because, as it turns out, you were right for me.

Lamar University is lucky to have you join their team this fall.

On Mother’s Day you posted a photo to social media that said “Happy Mother’s Day. Number One Supporter.”

And I told you then I always will be.

You were with me as I learned to become an adult.

So as you do the same, never forget that, no matter the miles, I’m right beside you.

Congratulations, Colby. I love you bunches.

Monique Batson is Port Arthur Newsmedia editor. She can be reached at