Yesterday was one of the biggest days of the year.
Right up there with Christmas and Easter and birthdays in our family.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.