It’s now come and gone.  Convocation.  It was everything I thought it would be and absolutely nothing I thought it would be.  More than anything, it was intensely emotional.  I chose to travel into the ceremony by myself that morning on the train.  It was a good decision because it gave me a few moments, without worrying about arrangements or other people’s experiences, to just be in the moment.  I read notes, texts, and emails from my friends and colleagues who so thoughtfully remembered that it was my big day.  I felt surrounded by a host of support while having the quiet to reflect on what a journey it has been.  I thought about the people who have come and gone in my life throughout the process.  I thought about stubbornness (mine and others’).  I realized once again how glad I am that life has curves in its road.  I felt immensely ready for that walk across the stage.

But it was the bagpipes that were my undoing.  As soon as I heard the first note sound, I became a broken water works.  And that continued throughout the whole ceremony – including during my short but momentous walk across the stage.   The tears found me again at lunch, then afterward in the quiet of my bedroom as I lay down in exhaustion for an afternoon nap.  As Greg and I walked along the lake that evening, a few more tears sneaked out.  And still they found me again this morning as I worked in my garden, remembering what sacrifices it took and how rich the reward is now.

Yesterday I joined a tradition nearly two centuries old.  It was moving and inspiring (the ceremony….not the speeches!) and fitting.  But how thrilled I was to come home to my family at the end and know that the four of us earned this degree together.  


McGill Graduation, circa 1930


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