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Single Mom Thanks 4-Year-Old Son for Inspiring Her to Graduate College

The Short of It

Jelina Latrice Sheppard thanks her 4-year-old son for being her inspiration for graduating college.

The Lowdown

A grateful single mom took to Instagram to share a deeply touching tribute to her son after her college graduation, and it has since gone viral. Sheppard wrote:

"Dear Karter, For all those nights you had to fall asleep in the library, for all those times you had to watch cartoons alone because I needed to do homework, for the early mornings in daycare because I needed to be in class to being the last one there because I had to work, most importantly for the moments of separation because I needed to get this done, Thank you. You are the motivation for my heart to keep beating. I love you more than words can say. I finished because you needed to see me do it. I'm not strong because I want to be, I'm strong because I'm your first example. We've seen a lot and overcame a lot more. To infinity and beyond, a mother's greatest love."

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Incredibly, despite her many sacrifices and constant multitasking, Sheppard graduated cum laude from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University. And it wasn't easy; it took several years for the 24-year-old, who hopes to find work as a math teacher, to achieve this impressive goal. When Karter's father left during her sophomore year, Sheppard was forced to take online courses, which set her back in fulfilling her credits. When she decided to go back to school full time last year, her car broke down in the middle of the semester, and as she told Today, "I had to withdraw for the rest of the year and work as a substitute teacher instead to save up to get my car fixed."

Thankfully, this amazing mama persevered and is now a college graduate!

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The Upshot

I got totally choked up reading Sheppard's post because so many times in my life I tell my kids to "wait" when I'm finishing up a story. Some nights I can't put them to bed because I'm busy working so their father does. I can't always play or help them find a certain stuffed animal, because I'm on a call or answering an email.

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But like this new graduate, I hope I am setting an example for my children; that moms can work, have their own goals and dreams, and still be great parents.

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