As the time nears my own daughter's high school graduation, I can't control repeatedly licking an old wound.
My brother graduated years before me. The oldest child. The prodigal son. Our Dad gave him a beautifully framed, uplifting poem... a guide to life, if you will. Read it for yourself.
If - Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
Touching. Philosophical. Appropriate. Poignant. Right?
Fast forward 5 years later, and it was finally my turn to walk the stage. Of course my Dad was present, and I anticipated for weeks what words of wisdom he'd have for me. I couldn't wait...seriously...I was looking forward to always having a reference to bring me back to reality when the weight of the world was just too much to bear.
Imagine my facial expression when there was no beautiful poem, sonnet, or even an Irish limerick. I know you're sitting on the edge of your seat in nail biting anticipation!
Well here it is in all it's glory...
"Give 'em hell Tania!"
You've got to be kidding me...seriously? I assure you that was all the perils of wisdom he had for me. Maybe I really am the black sheep of the family. The baby. The wayward child. The fly-by-the-seat-of-my -pants-we're-not-ever-bailing-you-out-of-jail daughter. No wonder my life has been utter chaos ever since...I had no reference material, no life direction!
It's been 19 years and I still don't understand the rhyme and reasoning behind his 5 syllable "pep talk." He's got some explaining to do next month when he comes for Lauren's graduation...and I'm sure he'll come bearing a change your life, don't despair, pick yourself up by your bootstraps, the world is your oyster, inspiration encased within a gilded frame!
Now, please know that the while the above is the honest truth...it's completely being said tongue in cheek!