On Tuesday the fourteenth of June (nearly a week ago), I got up early in the morning and made my way toward the car, rubbing the sleep from my eyes as I went. The thing is, I was happy to do it because I was driving toward something that was a long time in the making. You see, my mother and I had to drive from WV to Baltimore Washington International airport in order to get up to Boston. Specifically, we had to get to Cambridge before 2:30 when my youngest brother would defend his dissertation as one of the final steps to getting his PhD . So it was no problem to travel in order to make sure my mom got to see that.
My mom and I have pretty different philosophies when it comes to travel. I am almost always annoyingly early to everything. If there is an event, I am probably waiting in my car long before the doors open. I am terrified of being late. My mom does not seem to worry about these things. She does everything she can to be on time but she is definitely not an early person. We drove along the way and made two stops. We stopped for breakfast, we stopped for gas and then we kept driving. We listened to Serial which my mom had not heard yet. We ended up getting lost because I had never driven to the airport that way and my mother fell asleep sometime during the drive. We finally made it to the gate right as they called for the plane to start boarding. My heart stopped hammering in my chest and I settled in to watch MST3K on my phone during the flight.
We arrived in Boston and I had only been there once before. We hopped a cab and ended up having lunch in the MIT Student Center. They had Mexican, Japanese and Indian but we ate Subway because we were playing it safe. We walked around the MIT campus and enjoyed the sights. College campuses are all great but MIT was really beautiful. The building under the dome seems to go on forever inside and we walked and talked and enjoyed our time.
We headed to the Stata building and we were confused and amused by its wacky architecture. It was an interesting building but we eventually found the room we were looking for. We sat down in the back row and waved to my brother who looked ready for business. When it came time for his committee’s questions, he had an answer for everything and his confidence shown through.
He was. He delivered an awesome speech and although he lost me a bit on the math and some of the science, I could really appreciate how great his research had been at MIT. Afterward, the committee gave him the thumbs up and we headed down to see the lab he had spent nearly seven years working out of. It was really cool to see where he had been and meet some of the people he hung out with and learned alongside. We sipped sparkling cider out of a bottle opened with a Macbook Air. However, we had to bid him farewell because we had a plane to catch.
When we got back to the airport, we found out our plane was a little late so we sat down and had dinner. Mom and I talked about my brother’s journey. We talked about the obstacles he overcame, the times Mom and I had driven him to a lab during high school and we talked about a lot of things. We were both so proud of him. The flight back felt way easier and as I made the drive alone after landing, I could not be anything but glad that I made the trip.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dr. Abe Davis.