Sardines and Food Allergies

This past weekend I took our Princess up to my alma mater where her sister is also a student for their annual event, where alumnae are encouraged to bring young women of all ages to visit as prospective students.  I enjoy it immensely as it has become something of a mini-reunion with fellow classmates, and it culminates in a scholarship fund-raising theater event–STUNT–which I loved when I was there and still love now.

Our Princess has enjoyed going for the past two years, and this year was no exception.  She had her “bag” packed by the middle of last week and woke up on Saturday SO excited.  She knows her way around campus very well, and she has the routine of the day down by now.  However, they did something new this year as an icebreaker.  The younger set of students played a game of “Sardines,” which has best been explained to me as a game of reverse hide and seek.  One person hides, and as you find her, you join her in her hiding spot, until there is one person left seeking all of you.

My girl ditched me and her bags faster than you can say “Golden Heart” (the class she will be at Wesleyan) and headed out for the game.  I was tempted to follow her out into the hall, but I didn’t.  I let her play and found myself holding my breath.  Worrying about how close she could potentially be with others who might have just eaten some of her allergens made me nervous.  I sat there, worrying and yet amazed at how eager she was to go play with these other girls, some of whom she sees once a year and some whom she had never met.  She had a great time, and all was well.  Then it was on to the mini-STUNT scripting activity, and after we took a break during the campus tours.  Later we joined all the others by the fountain for supper (we always brown bag these events), and then it was time for a pep rally and off to the main event in the auditorium.

A great night.  Aub was a part of the team who put the whole thing together, and they did a fantastic job.

On our way home after 11 p.m. that night, I asked our Princess what her favorite part of the day had been. I was sure it was going to be our visit to the campus store or her beloved Golden Hearts winning the STUNT Cup, but no.

“It was when we played Sardines in Taylor Hall, and then later when we played a modified version around the fountain after supper.”

Bless.

Y’all.

Of course.  Her two favorite times were when I wasn’t hovering.  Obsessing over clean hands and what she might be exposed to in the midst of a day outside our norm.

Bless her.  Her two favorite times were both when she had handed me the epipen case she wears cross body style whenever we leave home.  The two times when she let loose and was just another kid running around with friends and some who will be.

It’s hard, isn’t it?  This whole parenting thing and knowing when to let go and when to be on guard.  Add in a life-threatening allergy (or any number of other health issues), and the difficulty level in being a good, balanced parent grows exponentially.

I’m glad she had a great time.  I’m thankful she was safe.  I don’t know what the answer is, from one situation to the next–how vigilant to be without being obsessed and way overprotective.  There’s no precedent here for me, and I’m just doing the best I can in any situation we find ourselves in.  It was bittersweet to be reminded that she only wants what the rest of us want–to fit in and be a part of a good time and not be reminded of what weighs us down.

May we all have those precious moments.

Love to all.

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For more information about food allergies and research, go to http://www.foodallergy.org

 

 

“Scratch It, You’re Done”

Today the crew and I found ourselves doing an unexpected end of semester move for our college girl.  It was a very good thing, and we rocked it.  We moved her across campus less than 24 hours after she got word she could move, and it took us 2 hours from start to finish.

Yeah, we are feeling pretty sanctimonious right about now.

As I was helping to pack up her room in bags and boxes and whatever I could find, I came across the scratch art set that Mess Cat gave Aub for her birthday.  I hadn’t packed it up yet, when I heard our Princess chastising her brother.

“No, don’t touch that.  You scratch it,  you’re done.  One scratch, it’s a picture.  You can’t undo it.”

Ah.

Much like how when our hearts or souls get scratched.  There’s no undoing that.  It’s done.

I think I’m going to start carrying around one of those black sheets with all the color underneath as an example of how delicately we should treat each other–as though we are all precious (and we are) and the least little scratch could change us forever–of how we should be careful of how we touch each other–with love or anger.  The mark will stay either way.

May we always use our touch to create something beautiful.

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artwork by our Princess

Love to all.

 

Hug ’em, Y’all-And Give ’em Chocolate

Today the littles and I, after a day of decorating, learning how to do new things, and organizing around the house, traveled up to a place I love and saw one of our favorite folks do something new too.

We went up for my Aub’s Washboard Band performance at Wesleyan College.  She has played her guitar in public before, but this was her first time playing the cajon with a group.  She did well, not that I was surprised, I guess, but it was good to see something come out of the year of percussion lessons way back during our first year of homeschooling when she was in the eighth grade.

I enjoyed every moment.  The rewrite of the Twelve Days of Christmas, Wesleyan style, was hilarious and yet it rang so true.  It reminded me of the stress and anxiety of this time of year for students.  If you know one, especially a college student, hug them. And then feed them copious amounts of chocolate and put a fiver in their hands just in case they need a little more later.  Bless them.  My college student alone has two finals, a big paper, and a presentation all coming due in the next week, and she’s not even done attending classes, not to mention her job.  And this is NORMAL for a college student.

Hug ’em, y’all.  It’s hard.

They can do it and do it well, but when you’re in the midst of it, it can make you crazy and make you doubt yourself.

NOTE TO ALL MY COLLEGE FRIENDS:  You’ve got this.  Breathe.  Go watch the sunset (which was fabulous tonight, by the way).  I believe in you.  And I’m here if you need a reminder of how wonderful you are and that this too shall pass.  (And so will you, you’ve been working hard.  Yeah, I’ve noticed.)  

As we were leaving, we drove the long way to leave campus, and this stopped me in my tracks.

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The famous Wesleyan geese…..

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…..heading towards the pond. 

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…..almost…..

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There they go.  “Merry Christmas, geese!” 

And made me smile.  I love the geese.  I mean, I always leave a respectable distance between them and me, but I do love them.  Our Princess  rolled down her window and wished them a Merry Christmas, which was–well, so her.  Precious.

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Yes.  Those are the ginkgoes I love so much.  A beautiful sight.  

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My future Golden Heart said, “Oh look, that’s Golden Heart snow!”  A Wesleyanne through and through.   

As we were about to leave, Princess asked out of the blue:  “Mama, when you go here, is there a curfew or do you just have to put yourself to bed on your own?”

I laughed to myself.  She is a special bird, and I love her for it.  “No, you’re on your own.”

“Oh, okay, so you just go to bed by 9 pm, and it’s okay. Or maybe a little later as long as you get up for class the next morning?”

Oh me.  Bless her.

I don’t think she’s quite ready for college yet.  But that’s okay.  She’s got years to go yet.

And I’m sure they will fly by.

Tonight I’m thankful for my alma mater, which isn’t too far away and always welcomes me with her beauty and laughter and sisterhood across the ages. When I saw one of Aub’s classmates–one whom I adore– heading into a final, I stopped my car at the same time that she did a double take.  That’s what being a part of this community is about–and I love the young women who are a part of my girl’s posse.  Her people.  I am thankful for them.  I am also thankful that Aub shares the journey with us, and that we were able to be there and hear her perform.  I give thanks for the love our Princess has for Wesleyan, but I’m also glad it’s not quite time to send her off with suitcase and dorm fridge in hand.  (And I’m thinking, where on earth did she get 9 p.m.? That girl is a NIGHT OWL in every sense of the word. Good gravy!)

Wishing you all a moment or twelve of peace in the midst of the chaos, no matter what your chaos might be.  And if that can’t be found–chocolate.  And lots of it.

Love to all.

 

But First, A Selfie

After playing with her brother and Daddy one evening, our Princess came in and sat on the couch with a big smile on her face.  “Everyone should have a fun, silly, and clumsy person in their lives.  And a Mama too.”

Oh me.  Ouch.

Mayhaps I should be more in touch with my silly and fun side.  Clumsy–I’m okay with letting someone else fill that spot.

Last weekend I saw a phenomenon take place.  And I laughed harder than I have in a long time.  I even got a little silly.  Being with folks who knew you when you were young will do that for a person.  As we visited and sang and yelled our class cheers, I noticed one thing that put smiles on people’s faces faster than anything.

Selfies.

My oldest who is a sophomore at Wesleyan, my alma mater, is double majoring in Psychology and Religious Studies, but I am pretty sure she is getting her doctorate in Selfies.  She takes a lot of them.  She’s even taken one with the President…..of Wesleyan, which was a dream of hers.  She has the whole holding the phone just so and the photo ready smile/expression thing down pat.  Mine wind up fuzzy or with someone’s head cut off or eyes closed.  I long to reach her level of perfection.

The first selfie of the weekend surfaced on Facebook shortly after our Reunion Class picture was taken.  My girl was taking pictures of us, and then she decided to jazz it up a little.  She took a selfie with us in the background.

My sophomore with my graduating class at our 25 Year Reunion.  #selfiewithAub

My sophomore with my graduating class at our 25 Year Reunion. #selfiewithAub

Too much fun.

As the day progressed, she took selfies with different members of my class.  She even gave “lessons” on the perfect pose and the way to smile.  It was hilarious to watch all the action.

Aub and one of my favorite Purple Knight sisters taking a selfie with the President of the college in the background.  I love the sisterhood that spans the generations at our alma mater.

Aub and one of my favorite Purple Knight sisters taking a selfie with the President of the college in the background. I love the sisterhood that spans the generations at our alma mater.

And I noticed something.

Whether it was my Aub or one of my Purple Knight sisters taking the selfie with others on the front porch of Porter, they all had one thing in common.

The biggest smiles ever.

Aub and our sweet "little" Green Knight sister taking a selfie with a few from our Purple Knight class.  Double selfie! #selfiewithAub

Aub and our sweet “little” Green Knight sister taking a selfie with a few from our Purple Knight class and a Pirate or two thrown in for good measure. Double selfie! #selfiewithAub

Fun.  Silly.

That right there.

When someone came up and asked to take a “selfie” with another person, there were no frowns or waves of the hands as if to say, “No, I don’t want my picture taken.”  There was only laughter and then looking at the camera with a great big smile.  Or a funny face.

But no matter the pose, there was joy.  Laughter.  Fun.  You could see it in their eyes.

I like it.

So be forewarned.  I frankly think the world can use more joy and laughter and silliness.  I think we need more smiles and togetherness.  So know that if we are together, I’m very likely to pull out my phone and say, “Hey, let’s take a selfie!” because I love the joy I see in all the ones taken last weekend.  AND because the next time our Princess walks in here talking about silliness and fun, I want her to say, “Everyone should have someone silly and fun in their lives, just like my Mama.”

May you all find someone to laugh and be silly with today.  Maybe even take a selfie–

Spread the joy.

Love to all.

On Being Off-Balance

I have had the great pleasure and joy of having not one but two Wesleyannes in the house this weekend.

Aub came home, and her sisterfriend joined her.  The whole crew, including Miss Sophie, have carried on as if it were one big party.

And it has been really, because I can’t think of anything better to celebrate than being together and napping and laughing and playing and napping–oh yeah, and napping.  Because, you know, college is hard.

As these young women will tell you, the struggle is real.  One week back from Spring Break and I know they had at least three mid-terms to take this past week.  Underwater basket weaving was not one of them.

So sleep has definitely been on the agenda.

But so has fun.

This afternoon and evening the girls and I cleared a spot in the Nest and painted.  I am giggling to myself a bit, with delight, because when I sat down with my own paintbrush and invited them, Aub’s friend claimed she wasn’t much of an artist.

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Well, I beg to differ.  She did a beautiful job.  Hello, freehanded it.  Nailed it.

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As Aub was lettering, she got frustrated, saying she thought her words were off-balance.  I looked, and I thought she was doing a fabulous job.  In the meantime, I was getting ready to Mod Podge my words on my work, and I slipped up and placed it at a bad angle.  As I fussed to myself and was quickly peeling it off so I could move it, both girls looked over and said it looked great.

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They both suggested I write about being off-balance tonight.

So here are my thoughts.

We can feel off-balance, frustrated that everything isn’t a-okay-perfect in our lives.  The truth is nothing is ever going to be 100% perfect.  It’s hard to plan ahead on where to start so we end up with everything in exactly the right place at the end of the day.

However, isn’t it interesting that, while each of us thought her own piece was a train wreck and all off-kilter, the others thought it was lovely?

That’s all I have tonight.  What you think is a tore up mess and very obvious to the world probably ISN’T.  So just keep on keeping on, trying your best, because everyone has something go wonky at some point.  Grace abounds.

And sometimes when things are wonky is when they are most beautiful.

May you all find yourselves with just enough off-balance to keep things interesting.

Love to all.

My Daughter is Also My Sister

Yesterday was one of the biggest days of the year.

Right up there with Christmas and Easter and birthdays in our family.

Huge.

It was STUNT weekend at Wesleyan College, my alma mater.

My second home.  The place of many joyful and wonderful memories.  The place where I figured out what I believed and tried it on for size for the first time.

Where I became a Psychology major and experienced great internships at places like the Methodist Children’s Home and Macon Outreach at Mulberry UMC.

Where I made friends for life and promised to be loyal and true to this place that built me.

And where I had the great privilege and honor and pure-tee fun of being a part of this great tradition, STUNT.

This is the 119th year of this event, which was begun to raise scholarship money for a sister who couldn’t afford to return to campus by a group of students all those years ago.  They would not let that happen, so they started this competition between the classes where each class writes and produces their own comedy musical.  The winner gets the coveted STUNT Cup.

That’s what the sisterhood at Wesleyan is all about.  It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we’ve last seen each other or talked, if one of us needs something, we are there.  I’ve had my sisters sit with me in darkness–be there when I was grieving, show up at my Mama’s funeral, send me messages of encouragement, and challenge me to step outside my comfort zone.  I’ve had my sisters remind me to give myself grace, and show up to cheer on my daughter and her class.  They’ve even been known to wear a class color other than their own, just to encourage another.

And that’s huge, y’all.  Once you enter as a Purple Knight, Golden Heart, Green Knight, or Red Pirate, you spend the next four years and the rest of your life pretty much embracing that color.

It’s all about the sisterhood.

And so was yesterday.  I took our Princess up for the day, as this is her favorite day of the whole year–when alumnae bring prospective students to campus for fun and friendship–some are their own daughters, some are not.  But all enjoy and have the time of their lives, which might explain why our Princess had her bag packed to go since she got back from last year’s STUNT.

It was a day spent with people I have known and loved for a long time.  Familiar faces etched onto my heart, almost as though they are a part of me.  My PirateFriend and her OnlyFriend, who shared the story of their friendship that began the first day of their freshman year, with the comment, “Hey, I like your pants.”  Y’all this is the friendship of a lifetime–I’m going to start telling people I like their pants.  If that’s the kind of lifelong sisterhood and love that comes of it, we should ALL be telling someone we like their pants.  They played a trivia game with the young girls visiting, and we laughed and had such fun.  We even sang and danced to the original number written by the group, “Rosie had a little puppy, and it’s okay to love puppies.” (sung to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”–a future hit, I’m telling you)

I loved hearing the years the daughters of my friends will be there.  I look at my baby girl and know she will be there on campus with some of these other legacies, and I smile.  We will be attending STUNT for many, many years, and I like the sound of that.

As the day went on, we were joined by more friends–sweet faces that haven’t changed one bit since graduation.  We took pictures and hugged and laughed that we had become those “old” alumnae who show up for things.  And we loved every moment of it.  One of the most precious moments was when my oldest, a sophomore at Wesleyan–more importantly, a Red Pirate–came up and met members of my class.  They embraced her as one of their own.  My favorite photo is one I’m not in–it’s my girl with my Purple Knight sisters.  Who stepped out of their knighthood for the night and cheered on the Pirates.  Auburn was the chair of her class’ STUNT committee for the second year in a row.  She and a committee of three other women from her class wrote the 30 minute comedy musical–they wrote the script, the songs, cast and directed it.  They have only been rehearsing for the past two weeks.

It’s tradition.

As the classes marched in one by one, each class sang their cheers.  “Night of the Screaming Women” is a well deserved moniker.  We’re loud and we’re proud.

Yes. We.  All of us alumnae were cheering along too.

And when the lights went down, my last glance back behind me showed me faces I have known for almost thirty years.

I was glad the room was dark.  I may or may not have teared up.  Ahem.

There were Purple Knights, Green Knights, Golden Hearts, and Red Pirates there, all with anticipation and beauty and joy etched into their faces.

And my girl’s 84-year-old grandmother was in the audience too.  There because of love.

But then, weren’t we all?

Yes.

The night was a good one.  The STUNTS were all good, and the Pirates won.

Well, in my book they did, but the judges saw it differently.  The Golden Hearts won the STUNT Cup and the Spirit Cup.  As seniors that was especially poignant.  They were thrilled and the night ended with lots of laughter and hugs and encouragement. With goodbyes and promises to see each other soon.

Before the Cups were announced though, there was a passing of the hats.  The Co-Chairs of the different committees will be Chairs next year.  It was time for them to name their Co-Chairs who will be the Chairs in 2017.

Since shortly after Aub set foot on campus, my girl has hoped to be tapped for this.  She’s spent years poring over my yearbooks and looking at the pictures.  She knew I loved STUNT and that I served as Executive STUNT chair my senior year.  “Mama, I want to do that too.  Wouldn’t that be cool?”

Well, only if you really want to.  I wanted her to do what she wanted to do at Wesleyan and not relive my years.

Long story short.  (or maybe a little shorter)

Last night her dream came true.  Auburn was named Co-Chair for 2015-2016.  Her junior year.  In the words of my daughter:

I.  Can’t.  Even.

As the announcement was being made, my classmate who is now an amazing member of the faculty at Wesleyan came up behind me and wrapped her arms around me.  She held on tight, and–

I.  Can’t.  Even.

See, she’s not one of my daughter’s professors.  It’s likely my girl won’t ever take a class from her.  But my friend has found her and loved her and–

Well.   She didn’t have to.

But that’s what the sisterhood is about.  And it lasts beyond the four years.  It lasts through generations.  And beyond.

It’s forever.

My friend whispered in my ear, “I’m so proud of our girl.” And she hugged me again.

Through my tears, I said, “Thank you for loving her.”

She waved her hand, “Don’t thank me for doing something that easy.”

Oh, my heart.

Today there have been so many pictures and posts on social media from my friends sharing their joy and happiness over being together yesterday.  One GreenKnight friend has said on more than one occasion, “It’s like going home.”

Amen.  And yesterday I sat upstairs in our “house,” and watched my girl and her sisterfriends SHINE like the stars they are.  I stood on stage with my sisterfriends and sang a song that another professor wrote, “Wesleyan is my school, Wesleyan is your school…..”  And my own daughter said she bawled.

She once told me that her friend who was STUNT chair last year was my special sister because we had a lineage between us of women who were tapped by the one before her, and it eventually was traced back to me.  And the one who tapped me and so on.

Well, huh.  I never thought of it that way.

And so now my oldest and much loved girl is a part of that lineage.  And I couldn’t be more tickled–because she’s happy.

My girl and me as the evening came to a close.

My girl and me as the evening came to a close.

So yeah, my daughter is also my sister.

It’s a Wesleyan thing, y’all.

And I’m a Wesleyanne for life.

I’m thankful for that and for all the treasures which that has brought and continues to bring me.

Love to all.

 

Move-in Day and the Ties that Bind

Move-in Day.

She’s officially a sophomore.

Today her grandmother asked me how old someone I knew who was a child when Aub was a baby is now.  My first response was, “Ummm, maybe early 20’s?”  Then it hit me that she was several years older than my girl, and my girl is almost–gulp–19.

Well, when on earth did that happen?

Today we loaded up things she’s had packed up since May and things she’s used all summer into two vehicles and drove the 40 minutes to my alma mater and hers.  As I drove I thought back to move-in day last year.

So very different this year.

First, the weather.  A gorgeous but hot sunny day.  Last year, the rain was plentiful and had folks ducking and dashing with suitcases, boxes, refrigerators, TVs, and books by the backpack-ful.  Today the only thing we dashed for was the shade.

Last year she moved in with all of the other freshmen in her class.  Today, it looked like Aub was the only one moving in.  She’s an Orientation Leader this year, and training starts tomorrow afternoon.  It was a breeze getting things out of the vehicles parked right at the entrance to her new dorm.  No weaving around folks in the hall.  No making conversation with others or seeing all of the door decorations the young women brought with them.  Aub’s door was the only one with a name on it.  The halls are M-T, empty.

My girl's room for the next ten months.

My girl’s room for the next ten months.

This year our whole crew moved her up.  Last year we had the helping hands and giving spirits of our dear friends helping us out while my Fella was deployed.  They were missed and thought of often today, especially as my girl was unpacking her clothes.  I kept saying things could be hung up, but she missed her sweetheart friend who helped her organize her drawers last year.  Ah, well, there’s still time.

The best thing different were the tears.  Or lack thereof.  Last year’s move-in was especially hard.  This young woman who continues to amaze me had been through the wringer the two years prior to moving to college, losing people we love so dearly AND working to graduate from high school in three years.  She was emotional and sad and anxious.  All normal under the best of circumstances.  I remember Cooter standing by the window, forlornly saying, “We just didn’t have enough time together.  I wish I’d been born sooner.”

Today there was laughter and inspecting and questions and helping.  Our Princess told me as we carried up Load Number Umpteen that she was thinking that maybe if there were students who were missing their families, she could help cheer them up.  I don’t know if she means now or when she attends Wesleyan as a member of the Class of 2027 (and rest assured this WILL happen), but if anyone can make that happen, it’s her.  I explained that this is sort of what her big sister will be doing as an Orientation Leader, and that made her very happy.

My least favorite thing that was the same was the third floor.  Last year, third floor.  This year, the same. Only different building.  Those stairs.  Y’all.  I didn’t know what great shape I must have been in when I was traipsing up and down those flights of stairs my whole freshman year.  As I huffed and blew today, granted I was carrying some heavy loads, I remembered the exact feel of those steps and how I could do a bouncy thing down and make them in record time when necessary.

The exact feel of those exact steps.

My college sophomore is living in what was the freshman dorm when I was there.  And–

she’s living in part of my room.

Y’all.

It’s okay.  You can laugh.  Make fun.

But yes, I am that Mama.  This bit of coincidence makes me happy.  Very happy.  It’s not just good–in the words of my nephew, it’s great.

That window.  The same one that was in front of my bed my freshman year.  This brings me such joy, you don't even know.  Yeah, I'm that Mama.

That window. The same one that was in front of my bed my freshman year. This brings me such joy, you don’t even know. Yeah, I’m that Mama.

Aub's sink is in my closet.  This tickles me so much.

Aub’s sink is in my closet. This tickles me so much.

In the space of what was three separate rooms my freshman year, they have remodeled and turned those three into a suite with two bedrooms and a bath in between.  So she has part of my room in hers.  The window in front of my bed where the radiator sat all those years ago is in front of her study area.  Her sink is in what used to be my closet.  Which makes me giggle and I have no idea why.  Of course there are very few actual similarities to my old room.  The radiator that was a faithful place to dry dishes or store things until the day they announced they were turning them on is gone.  (What a furor and mad rushing from class that announcement caused–so many things stored on those radiators.)  The ceiling fans on the lowered ceilings serve to stir around the air-conditioned air, something we knew nothing about.  Box fans in the windows were our best friends.  The community bathrooms are gone to be replaced by a shower and private bath with double vanities.  Very fancy.  The hallways no longer have the shellacked looking slick floors–now they are carpeted with chair railing on the wall and lovely sconces lighting the hall.  So much has changed, and yet…..

my girl is living in my old room!

The hallway--I wandered down it, hearing echoes from the past.

The hallway–I wandered down it, hearing echoes from the past.

That’s how I’ve thought of it since she told me where her room was.  And I couldn’t help smiling today and wandering the halls, listening to the echoes of the past.  I even found the door to my room on the first floor of the same dorm unlocked–the room where I lived as a Resident Assistant my junior year.  I had a wonky-shaped bathtub in my private bathroom that I loved.  Sigh. It’s been replaced by a tile shower.

Ah well.

What a wonderful trip down memory lane today.  I take those trips often, sometimes they are happy, sometimes nostalgic, and sometimes, depending on the song on the radio, downright painful.  But today–

it was great.

I am thankful my girl is there.  I hope it will be a place that she will return to as I have for strength and confidence and comfort.  I’m hoping that she will form friendships, as I have been so lucky to do, that will last her through all kinds of changes in her life.  I want her to find people to love and who love her who will always be willing to hear her story.  No matter what.  And her theirs.  I want her to one day, maybe when she’s moving her own legacy in, hear the echoes of her own happy past at this wonderful place.

As we were leaving today, door locked, and heading down the hall, I turned back and said, “Oh no, we should have blessed your room or something!”  I was thinking of lovely words written by folks like Thom Shuman who make things seem filled with peace and good things–and that’s what I want for her for this year.

But my girl wasn’t following me.  She laughed.  “You want to lay hands on my room or something?”

Ah well, maybe not.  But I did get in the retort, “No, I want to put a curse on your doorstep that any boy who tries to enter will be–‘Petrificus Totalis’!”  Yeah, Cooter’s all about those Harry Potter spells.  I’ve got them down.

She walked away, “I’m not listening.”  Ha.  Yeah you were.

As we left for home, I thought about it.  I didn’t need to say anything to “bless” that room.  It already has been.  By all the voices and stories and joys and sorrows that the room has seen over the years.  All of those stories will be joined by the ones Aub and her sweet suitemate make this coming year.  Our stories are all connected, over time, by a shared love–of learning, of our sisters, and of making a difference in this world.

And after all, I think it’s those connections, those relationships, those ties that bind–that’s what really blesses us in this life.

Giving thanks for my sisters in spirit tonight–who embraced me and continue the tradition by embracing my girl.

Love to all.