Win One for a Mama You Love
If Mama Apron
Win One for Your Mama
Win One for a Mama You Love
Oh to be young and carefree and bolder than is warranted by good common sense.
My brother-in-law and his wife, expecting their first baby, are celebrating Match Day today. After four years of medical school, he now has a residency to conquer. And med school seniors have a very special process for finding out where they will spend the next 2 years of their lives - Match Day. In a formal ceremony, after professors and other speakers have ceased speaking all their obligatory words of inspiration, they begin handing out white envelopes filled to the seal with destiny.
Each student, when his or her name is called, walks across the stage to retrieve the envelope designated as his or hers. Then the students makes what must seem like an even longer walk back across the stage, clutching mystery in a sweaty palm.
The Envelope Please.
The crisp, clean, white envelope contains the name of the city and hospital of each M.D. candidate's residency. With a rip and a tear, which they all swear is no reflection of their surgical precision, the mystery place is revealed, and life turns on a dime and shoots off in a different direction. And they find themselves free to lay down the burdens of one place to seek and find the thrills of another.
I want an envelope.
Frankly, I'm jealous. I want an envelope. I want that freedom to just go where someone told me to go, without ever having to make the decision myself. I want to go on an adventure that makes left turns and zig-zags to places I wouldn't have chosen for myself. I want to experience that emotion of change.
But, I'm a southern lady, and I well know the difference between foolish and fearless. It is foolish to believe that life would be any different somewhere else than it is right here. When the sport of it wore off, I'd have the same problems in a different place.
The quality of my life depends more on what I do with it than where I live it. (Although, admittedly, if I drew an envelope that took me from my southern home, I would probably try to rig my next draw to bring me home.)
Making my own Match Day.
That doesn't make my desire for venturesome behavior any less intense. So I stuffed some envelopes of my own. I put in slips of paper that say things like, "Go get ice cream," "Take the kids to a movie," "Have your nails done," "Take your husband on a date," "Day trip to the beach," etc. When I need a little fearless fun, I plan to pull an envelope and do whatever it says.
TODAY'S ASSIGNMENT: In your Book of Lists, brainstorm a list of things you would like to do but rarely make time for or let yourself indulge in. Then write the ones you really like on slips of paper and seal them in envelopes. Keep your stack of stuffed envelopes in a safe place, and pull one whenever you feel like you're making too many right turns and you need a curve in your road. Commit yourself to going wherever the envelope sends you.
. . . failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was.
--J.K Rowling, June 5, 2008, Commencement Address to Harvard Graduating Class
I must have been about 12 years-old when my grandmother, Mama T, visiting us from Memphis, sat me down and said in her aristocratic drawl, "Lucy, I think it's time I told you about our heritage." A few years later, when she met one of my high school boyfriends, she calculatedly whispered loud enough for him to hear, "Tell me, who are his people?" She didn't want me shooting the fish at the bottom of the barrel, for certain.
My heritage includes American heroes, Civil War officers, powerful family matriarchs, n'er-do-wells, outlaws (by trade and by name), and some sorry s.o.b.'s, alike. My people are genteel, aristocratic, alcoholic, crazy, and proper as they come. Our background initiated Mama T and her female descendants into exclusive women's organizations like Junior League, Daughters of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Colonial Dames, the local garden club, and the choice bridge group. She took exquisite pride in who we are and where we come from.
Like most southern ladies - like my grandmother - I learned to define myself by my name, my husband's occupation and income, who my daddy is, my home, my family history, my "stuff." Belles cling to these things like a lifeline and display them like neon letters on theater marquees, lest anyone mistake us for someone or something we are not.
Who are we, though, when these things fall apart, stripped away from us? Divorce, financial ruin, family scandal, downsizing - these things DON'T jive with our personal definitions. As J.K. Rowling told the Harvard graduates, ". . . we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it." And as we all know, the southern world, for all its sweetness and charm, gladly welcomes the drama of a failed Dixie diva. Front porch frequenters thrive on it.
But in these circumstances, we are forced to make a decision to drown in our sorrows or discover who we really are. We must, therefore, define ourselves, following three essential rules:
A dream I had the other night has plagued me ever since.
Somehow, I hemmed up a horse in a three sided enclosure. Brown and muscular, the horse anxiously pranced forward and backward. It pumped it's head up and down as if pulling on invisible reigns. It's smooth, sleek coat reflected light.
Seeing all of this, I knew I had to do something to keep this animal contained, so I slid a long board between the highest slats of two sides of the enclosure, fencing in the horse. Right as I secured the plank in place, to my great surprise the horse jumped over the right-hand side of the enclosure.
That's where the dream ended. But it didn't really end, because I've been continually questioning what the horse symbolizes, what I'm keeping in that needs to get out. Where is that horse going and why is it so anxious to get there?
Living in a small southern town, I can rest assured that when life gets so chaotic that I don't know what I'm doing, if I'm coming or going, all I have to do is ask a neighbor. Around here, the neighborly motto is we make your business our business. I just hope they haven't heard something I don't want to hear.