Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sisters For Life

The other night I stopped by my old Sorority house while I was in town on business.  I wanted to see the renovations and get a quick glimpse at what has been happening at the house, it has been 15 years since I pledged.  I didn’t realize the girls were having a meeting and getting ready for recruitment of their new class of sisters.  I was invited to impart some quick words of wisdom on the girls.

I walked into the room and sat in the back, trying to blend (but, really who am I kidding?! I’m 33 and wearing business clothes, they are 19 and 20 and wearing cute tanks – but I digress).   I sat in the back and took in the room.  I saw beautiful faces paying attention to the girl who, I am assuming, is a graduating senior.  I saw a few girls whispering to each other and few more exchanges silly faces.  All in all I saw the faces of my sisters.  The girl who was standing was reading a story about sisterhood and what it meant to her.   Eerily (or maybe because I’m emotional) this girl looked JUST like Emily who read a very similar story when I was rushing.  They could have been twins! (Ok, maybe not, but the story, the room, the memories, it brought me right back to listening to Emily’s story and her reading a Maya Angelou poem in the formal in 1997).

Filled with lots of memories and even more emotion, it was my turn to speak to the girls.  No pressure right!?
I started by giving them a pep talk about how unique they are.  I encouraged them to spend the next week finding out what makes their house different compared to all of the other houses on campus.  Every sorority has a formal, hay ride and cute dates at the date functions.  I urged the girls to figure out what makes their sisterhood unique.  To seek new members that fit the sisterhood, not the events.  My brain quickly turned to lazy Sunday mornings sitting in the TV room surrounded by sisters debating which one of us was going to have to drive to Publix to pick up the sub order.  These days my Sundays are generally spent sipping coffee, watching morning TV and checking Facebook to see where my sisters are and what they are up to on their Sunday with their families.   My emotional self then turned to memories of getting ready for a night out, of fighting for a spot in front of the Hall Mirror and borrowing the curling iron, flat iron and even at times the crimping iron.  Silly as it sounds; I told the girls how much I missed those nights getting ready with 40 or so other girls. 
The girl who spoke before me talked about how she just knew her sisters were going to be there for her forever – she referenced her graduation and her wedding.  Yes sister, they will be there for your wedding.  But more than being a bridesmaid your sisters will be there for when you lose your first job and are afraid to tell your parents, when you have your first fight with your mother in law and you have no idea how to tell your husband, when you decide that your boyfriend, roommate, job, family, kids, and friends are all too much and you just can’t take it anymore – your sisters will be there for you in those times when you are growing up, grieving, and just plain dealing with life.

My colleagues once asked me why I stay in touch so much with my sorority sisters?  My answer was – they are the people who I can be me around.  Just me.  No explaining, no pretending, no makeup, no brand names, no titles and no meetings.   Sisters are the people in your life who met you, loved you and continue to love you no matter what. 
I didn’t have the time to explain all of this to the girls last night.  Honestly, I didn’t want to burst their bubbles.  They are full of hopes and dreams and to them the most important times ahead are formal and hayride and even a wedding.  I trust that they will pick the most amazing sisters to join their chapter this year, and I know that they will have the most spectacular school year ahead.
More importantly, I know that when they come back 15 years after they pledge they will have the best sisters and friends a girl could ever ask for.

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's only a week....

This week starts a new challenge for me.
No, I’m not restarting my 90 day challenge nor am I training for a new race, nor did I decide to take on any extreme sports….  I am becoming a ‘One Week On, One Week Off Parent’.  
For the past five years I have put up the argument that my little man needs to be with his Mommy as much as possible.  Sure, he can see his Dad whenever he wants, and yes I encourage long weeks away on family vacations with the “other family.”  But all in all, I knew that I had my little man at home with me most of the time.  I was content, my little man with me and all was right in the world.
Then it hit me!  My little man is growing up.  He has friends and not all of his friends live in my neighborhood.  He has sisters – you guessed it, they live at his Dad’s house.  He has toys and games and bikes and an entire little life and I am not part of it. 
I asked my little man his thoughts on going to his Dad’s for one week and my house for one week?   His response was something like this: “Mom, why are we STILL talking about this? I told Dad this so many times. I am o.k. with staying for a week.  I would like it.  Plus, really Mom, it’s just a week.”
Ok, little Dude, I hear you.  It really is ‘just a week’.   I can try to do this.
So, after much deliberation, a few long talks with girlfriends and other single parents and a few sad thoughts, I gave in.  I am going to try this out and see how it goes.   I packed up not one, but three bags of stuff for my little man – baseball gear, baseball uniforms for a week, swim gear, ear meds, summer homework, summer reading lists, school supply list and directions a mile long on all the ins and outs of having my little man for a week.
My little man was set and I was mentally prepared for my one week "off".    I dropped him off and unloaded his luggage while his step mom looked at me with crazed eyes and an overwhelmed expression.  Apparently, in all of the debating and fighting back and forth about our one week on/off program, my ex -husband forgot to mention to his wife that our little man will be with them for a week!  She will now be handling the camp drop off, the lunches, the pick-up and the homework, meals and all the other fun of having three kids at home for the summer.
I quickly hugged and kissed my little man and ran out of the house as fast as I could.  I swear I could see the steam coming off the step mommy and I was not about to be a part of that conversation.  I will be happily enjoying my “off week” and I might suggest to Super Step Mommy to repeat as I do  - “it’s only a week, it’s only a week, it’s only a week….”