Ok, so even before I typed these words, tears were pouring down my face. I am so overcome with emotion... knowing that words can not even begin to express how I felt watching my daughter graduate from Arizona State University Friday afternoon. But here goes ~
Randy & I arrived at Wells Fargo Arena an hour before the ceremony. As we entered, Randy reminded me that the last time he was there, he watched his brother Barry receive his Doctorate in Statistics, a mere 7 years ago. When Barry was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, he was told he had 6 months to 2 years to live. He not only lived 2 years and 1 month but completed his Doctorate during that time.
As you can imagine, tears started flowing... remembering Barry accomplishing his goal in that arena.
And then Randy reminded me that the last time I was in that arena, it was called The Activity Center and it was 1980 and Randy was opening for BJ Thomas. Oh how the memories came flooding back. Randy was unbelievable that night! After the concert Randy & I were escorted backstage to meet BJ Thomas and when the doors opened to his dressing room, I ran in and hugged him and started crying. I was quite the groupie. You see "Hooked on a Feeling" was one of my very favorite songs when I was 13, back in 1969.
Well as you can imagine, that made me cry... remembering Randy's amazing performance in that arena.
And now, 31 years later, we're sitting in that very arena and I'm needing to journal my thoughts. I always bring a yellow notepad wherever I go, incase I need to do just that. So while I wrote about my daughter, Randy was flipping through the program booklet. I was unaware that he was trying to find Miranda's name listed among the 11,000 graduates graduating from ASU that weekend. I was too preoccupied wiping tears and writing away. Just before the ceremony started Randy finally found her name and told me she was graduating with honors. We had no idea. He immediately text Miranda and told her she was graduating with honors... and she had no idea. That's our Miranda.
I share that with you so you have an idea of what was going on while I was writing these words in my little notepad.
Miranda, I am sitting here waiting for the ceremony to begin. I was overcome with emotion the minute I walked into the arena. My heart is bursting with love and admiration for you. I am reminded that your name means "extraordinary, to be admired" and you have truly lived up to that name. There is no one I admire more. I want to grow up and be just like you.
I am so aware that you are not about this day. You would have been fine not walking. You have never been about graduating and honors and being done. You were always about the process of learning... the classroom experience... pouring over text books and soaking up every bit of knowledge you could get your hands on.
*** Your Dad just leaned over and told me that he found your name in the book of graduates... and that you were graduating with honors. He text you and told you and you didn't even know.
Do you see what I mean! That is what makes you so extraordinary! You are so secure in YOU... who God made you to be... that you have no need to prove yourself... or to boast or brag or self-promote. You are all about what's next in the journey and all that God has for you. I love that about you!
You have never let anyone or anything define you. I knew that very early on, that you were your own person. You were fearless. You were singing and acting and doing commercials at a very young age and nothing or no one could stop you. You wore dresses to school every day through 4th grade, and when I asked if anyone else did, you said not really, but that's ok. You wore hats when no one else did, but it didn't matter. When you weren't invited to a party and my heart was breaking for you (because it triggered heartache from my childhood), you said "Mom, I don't have to be invited to every party". And you were just fine.
You have never been about impressing anyone... or being better than anyone. You were always about being all that you knew you were capable of being.
You didn't need to hide or wear a mask... you were comfortable with you.
And because you knew you were loved... you were free to love and accept others unconditionally. Miranda, do you know that I am still learning how to do those things?
*** They have started playing Pomp and Circumstance and you are among the last to walk in and be seated. I'm an emotional mess. I'm telling you, they could play that song during a tractor pull and I'd be crying my eyes out.
While they hand out diplomas... I want to record all that you've accomplished academically these past 8 years, since graduating from high school in 2003.
- you received the Presidential Scholarship enabling you to attend two years at Mesa Community College tuition free.
- then you attended Arizona School of Message Therapy in Tempe.
- upon completion you TA'd for several of the instructors.
- then became the youngest instructor at the message therapy school.
- you learned quickly not to tell your students that you were only 21.
- because most students were pursuing a 2nd career and were much older.
- you made a good salary and saved lots of money.
- all the while renting a 2 bedroom apartment and making a car payment.
- then in 2008 you enrolled at ASU...
- so that after a semester you could apply to their exchange program.
- you continued to work full-time at the message therapy school.
- and then you got a phone call that would change your life.
- you were accepted to study at Royal Holloway in England for a semester!
- you studied in England from January 4th - May of 2009
- and then you & your friend Phoebe backpacked throughout Europe for a month.
- truly a life-changing dream-come-true!
- you paid for that entire 6 months of schooling and traveling throughout Europe yourself.
- you lived at home that first semester back at ASU.
- and then moved out, all the while attending school and working part-time.
- and today you will receive your Bachelors from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, majoring in European History.
Congratulations Miranda Rachael Thompson!
Your Mom & Dad love you dearly!