After countless hours of studying and hard work, 50-year-old Penny Pearson was thrilled to finally be graduating and fulfilling her life dream of becoming a registered nurse.
“I just kind of had to put it on the wayside to raise children,” Pearson said. “It’s been a goal of mine ever since I can remember. I love helping people.” And after her husband, Kurt, and their three kids all encouraged her to go back to school, she finally enrolled at Rasmussen College in July 2015 to get her associate’s degree in nursing while also working full-time at an assisted living facility.
And when it became too overwhelming, she would always lean on her son Sgt. Dustin Pearson for support, even after he was deployed last year. “It felt like a part of your soul is missing,” Pearson said after her son left. “I have test anxiety so bad and it was a calming effect for me to talk to him whether he was here or thousands of miles away. He always seemed to have the right thing to say to help me through it. I’d call him in tears. He’d say, ‘You got this, Mom. Just keep pushing through it.’”
As excited as Pearson was to complete her degree, she was devastated when she realized that her son and biggest supporter wouldn’t be there for the big moment. But what she didn’t know was Dustin secretly returned home two days before the graduation to surprise her during her big moment.
“She’s always been my best friend,” Dustin said. “She’s always been there for me. She helped me get through some hard times. I know that becoming an RN meant a ton to her, so I really wanted to surprise her. I was like if I can make it just a little bit more memorable, we’re going to do that.”
And on March 15, not only did Dustin attend the ceremony, but he surprised his mom by appearing on stage and presented her with her nursing pin. “She’s accomplished a lifelong goal she had to put on hold to start a family,” Dustin said. “Not that many people get to do that. I’m nothing but proud of her.”
“I was over the moon,” Pearson said. “I was just like, Oh my God. My boy is here. Besides my wedding and having my children, I think this ranks right up there as one of the top events in my life.”
Watch the entire video below to see the heartwarming moment this mom realizes who come to see her graduate.
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[Featured image: Today/Penny Pearson]