I love listening to commencement addresses. I always take at least one golden nugget from the speech. Today was no different.
Michaline Frances Borek, my one and only beautiful daughter, graduated today, May 19, 2013 with a Bachelors of Science and a major in Accounting from Lemoyne College in Syracuse, NY. I’m a proud Papa.
To be honest, on Mikey’s big day, I had other things on my mind that were clouding my thinking. My thoughts were focused on unimportant messages that were zapping my energy. With clients, I call these tolerations. At that moment, I became intentional about the story I wanted to create on my daughter’s special day.
As I drove from Baldwinsville to downtown Syracuse, up the steep hill to the Lemoyne Campus for the ceremony, I reflected how blessed I am to have a healthy loving daughter. I also focused on the wonderful times I’ve experienced with Michaline so far in her first 25 years.
As I pulled on to campus, I became anxious because the traffic was jammed. I figured it would take another 15 minutes before I reached the end of the lot where I’d be able to park. There must have been 100 yards of cars in front of me. Instead of letting the moment get to me, I chilled, and focused on the importance of Mikey’s moment.
Then, without any signaling on my part, one of the security people waived me through, almost like I was a VIP, pointing me to a parking space that was not only closer to the venue, but in the same area where I first went to meet my daughter when she was working outside as part of the maintenance crew in her first year at Lemoyne.
The sky was overcast and it began to drizzle. No worries, I brought a mini-me umbrella given to me by the Red Cross for donating platelets several weeks before. I hadn’t used an umbrella in 25 years.
With the miniature umbrella extended over head, doing a good job of covering my 6’5″ frame, I made my way down the winding path to the graduation venue. I walked tall with a deliberate spring in my step. Then, all of a sudden, my eyes welled up with tears of joy.
Time goes by so quickly. Even quicker as you get older. It seemed like yesterday when I held her in my arms when she was first born. Today, 25 years later, she’s graduating from college. What a special moment. This is what being a Dad is all about.
I spent most of the time running around like a paparazzi trying to get as many shots of Mikey that I could. From coming down the big hill on the way to the green carpet, her entrance on to the stage, and of course a few photos with me.
Then Dr. Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Syracuse University, gave her commencement address. I listened with intention because I’ve heard her give great speeches in the past. The one line she delivered, that stood out for me was:
“We must think about the stories we’re writing with our lives.”
Is it coincidence that she delivered this line on the very morning I was questioning the stories I was telling myself? I don’t think so.
In the end, your life is a story. In fact, like all good stories, it’s all made up.
This week, start re-writing your story. When a negative thought, a gremlin, wiggles into your stream of consciousness, quickly switch your story to one that has us cheering for you in the end.
Michaline, I love you, and I’m so proud to be your Dad!