A mother protects her child…that’s what she does. It is a mother’s instinct to lash out at those who hurt our child and to hug and applaud others who embrace them with the same love and acceptance that we as mothers do. The week long process of recruitment was very hard on this momma. I was lucky enough (or unlucky enough…depending upon how you look at it) to go through the process twice. The first time was pretty stressful but manageable. My first daughter to pledge a sorority attended a state college about 3 1/2 hours from home and her recruitment was laid back and pretty non-competitive. The second time was with our youngest daughter at an out of state school, 12 hours from home which was known for one of the most competitive recruitments in the nation. The stress level was off the charts!
We had done our homework. Letters of introduction had been sent and two recommendations were on file at every house. She had attended preview weekend and was invited to several “invitation only” teas and events. All summer long she had worked on being “in shape” for the “big week”. She was a golden brown, her hair had been cut two weeks out so it was the perfect length, her closet held an array of great dresses and accessories to wear and her toes and fingers were manicured and painted a pale pink.
As I kissed her goodbye at the door of her dorm room I kept telling myself she would be ok. But as I drove home I began to worry, would the sorority girls who she met and talked with this week see all of the sparkling qualities that I did? Would they find her irresistible and want her as one of their own? I began to compose a letter in my head to those women telling them about my precious “daughter”.
Dear Sorority Woman,
Today you will begin the process of recruitment and will have the pleasure of meeting and talking with my daughter. I know that she is just one of many to you, but to me, her mother, she is number one ! I hope that when you meet her for the first time you will notice that there is something special and unique about this girl. In case you don’t I’m going to highlight a few of her special traits.
As she enters your house for the first time, on the arm of one of your sisters, I hope you see the confidence that we have instilled in her from the time she could walk and talk. She may look a little nervous but if you smile at her and make her feel welcome she will begin to relax and the nerves will disappear. She will begin to sit tall, her head held high as she shares why she knew this college campus was where she belonged. I hope you see that this house is where she belongs as well.
We have reminded our daughter that looks are only skin deep and that she has an inner beauty that is more beautiful that any flower, sunset or moonlit sky. This beauty cannot be seen in a mirror as she walks past but rather is experienced by those she touches with her words of encouragement, her smile to those who are sad and her outstretched hand to those in need. This beauty will not win pageants but will win the hearts of many. I hope it wins your heart and the hearts of those women who you call sisters.
And speaking of sisterhood, our daughter knows what it means to be devoted to those she calls family. Your sorority and the women who wear its letters are a family. My daughter will be faithful to you and the values you hold so dear. She will represent your “family” with the highest respect. Her presence on campus, while wearing your letters, will make others stand up and take notice. You will be proud to call her “sister” just as she will be proud to call you “sister” as well.
Our daughter has a thirst for learning. She will learn everything there is know about her new sisterhood, Your history will become her history. In addition, she will work hard in her academic classes. Because she loves to learn she will share her knowledge with others. I hope you will also share your knowledge with her.
If you did not notice our daughter wears her heart on her sleeve. She vulnerable and caring. Her love for others knows no boundaries. Please love her as we do. We love her for her gifts and talents but also for her flaws and misgivings. Her imperfections make her who she is. If she spills her ice water due to her clumsiness laugh with her as you mop up the spill together. She will wiggle and squirm in that cocktail dress on Preference Day because she is more comfortable in a pair of Nike shorts and a t-shirt. If you peek out the door at her standing on your walkway you see her put her heels on at the very last minute because she would rather be wearing tennis shoes. She is who she is…and we love her for this, both the good and the bad. I hope you will embrace her kind heart and flaws, and love her as well.
Finally if you do not see her as a “sister”, someone who will be a happy, contributing member of your sorority family please don’t treat her as if she is invisible or does not exist. Even though you will not be inviting her back to your home again please remember the manners that your parents taught you. Be a kind and gracious hostess for she will treat you with the same graciousness as she passes you on the sidewalk to class or sees you at a Greek party or function. She is a valuable human being, treat her as one. I know she will return the kindness.
Thank you for taking the time to read a mother’s ramblings. It is with the up most love for my daughter that I write this letter today. Putting my love in words has made the parting easier and just knowing that I have shared my heart with you will make the recruitment process more tolerable. My final words are a reminder that just as I have written these words to you, I can assure you that even if they were not written on paper these were also the words that YOUR mother wrote in her heart when you began to walk down the recruitment path.
Signed a loving potential new members mother!
Of course I never mailed the letter. I have kept it tucked away with all of the recruitment mementos. I would be lying to you if I told you I hadn’t read it since the day it was written. Oh…I get it out every now and then (this mother wears her heart on her sleeve as well) and all of those feelings and emotions come to the surface. I usually have to get a tissue or two.
I shared this with my daughter last year when she was “on the other side” of the process. I wanted her to understand that the girls she was meeting and talking with had mothers just like hers. I wanted her to connect with what they might be feeling as they send their daughters off to experience this process. I told her I didn’t expect her to love each girl. I knew that some would not be happy in her house but that I wanted her to remember what we had taught and shared with her when she began this process. She smiled..threw her arms around my neck and whispered those magic words “I love you Mom”.