GREENSBORO, NC (WWBT) - As thousands of students walk across the stages of various colleges and universities, one mother shared a special message for the person who motivated her and drove her to completing her education - her four-year-old son.
In an Instagram post that has been liked thousands of times, Jeliah Sheppard penned a message for her son Karter with a photo of the two embracing after she graduated from North Carolina A&T University Saturday.
"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," Sheppard said on Instagram.
"Most importantly for the moments of separation because I needed to get this done, Thank you," the mother said.
"We have a really special relationship," Sheppard told TODAY. "When I'm sick, he takes care of me. When I'm in need of a hug, he's there with open arms. I never thought I'd have a little boy watching over me, but I'm so happy I do."
Sheppard told TODAY she encountered several obstacles in her journey to finishing college, including her son's father leaving shortly after his birth during Sheppard's sophomore year, her car breaking down halfway through the semester, which forced her to find work and save up to get the car repaired so she could return to the classroom.
Despite the challenges put in her path, Sheppard joined her classmates Saturday in receiving their diplomas and she thanks her son for helping her get there.
"You are the motivation for my heart to keep beating," Sheppard said of her son Karter. "I love you more than words can say. I finished because you needed to see me do it."
"We've seen a lot and overcame a lot more," her message closed. "To infinity and beyond, a mother's greatest love."
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