This post is specifically for all of you moms out there who are going down the sorority recruitment road. If you are a PNM reading this..please take a moment to share it with your mom!
I will be up front with all of you ….I am NOT a fan of roller coasters or any kind of park ride at all!!! I DO NOT like being strapped into a seat that I am unable to get out of. I DO NOT like the feeling of heading slowly up a huge hill only to (in a seconds notice) have my stomach rise into my throat as I perilously barrel , at break neck speed, down the other side! Truth is I like being in control…I am a control freak.
As a mother of a young woman who decided to go through sorority recruitment at probably the most competitive (well okay, one of the top three most competitive) recruitment campuses in the US I felt as I was climbing aboard the biggest, most bad a** (sorry ) roller coaster of all time!!!! Oh, I was oblivious at first. Like being lured by the jaunty music and the smell of cotton candy on the Midway, I followed my daughter right into the process with out a worry, concern or care in the world. It wasn’t until we were getting in line and I stared at the monstrosity looming in front of me (that “a ha” moment when I received the first phone call from daughter #2 who said, “Mom, do you know what you’re getting in to?”) that my stomach started to get the squeezies and I have the urge to bolt and run for my life.
Ah…but I am mother :). Never would I abandon my daughter in hour of need, so, just a parent straps themselves in the roller coaster seat next to their child, uttering the words, “It’s okay honey…I’m going to be right here holding your hand”, I climbed on board the roller coaster ride of sorority recruitment and held on for dear life.
A mother loves her child unconditionally. From the first kick in the womb you love that child. We love our daughters despite their temper tantrums, bad hair days, insufferable boy friend traumas, clothing and fashion malfunctions and hormonal outbursts. I don’t know how many times I have done things for my daughters (I have 3) that I KNEW were not going to turn out as they thought it would. One of my favorite stories is about our youngest. Her dad went out-of-town (always signal to her that we need to “do” something) and she decided that she wanted highlights in her already, naturally blond hair. I made it clear that I was not paying $100 plus dollars to do this (I mean really???She had great blond hair), when she informed me it was okay because there was a kit at Walgreens for less than $20. I should have seen it coming, but remember I love my daughter, so when she suggested I could do this..no amount of me telling her that this was most definitely not even close to the realm of my capabilities convinced her otherwise. An hour later I found myself with cumbersome plastic gloves on my hands, a bottle of foul-smelling hair dye and a comb that looked like it came out of the dollar bin. You know where this is going right??? Of course you do! At the end of the night my daughters beautiful, naturally blond hair was streaked in orange a la bengal tiger. As I tried to calmly explain that I had told her I didn’t have a hair stylists degree, while calling every salon in town trying to convince them to stay open so that they could fix my disaster (oh yeah…somehow this was now my fault :/), she was crying uncontrollably because her life as she knew it was now “ruined”. Well…$150 later and a “If we would have just gone to the beauty salon in the first place you could have saved $70 dollars speech” from my daughter we went out for cupcakes. It was a mother-daughter moment at it’s best.
So when she asked me to help her get ready to go through recruitment at the uber competitive school I didn’t even look back and jumped on the roller coaster with her.
As a mom we think our daughters are : talented, beautiful, gifted, smart, funny, precious, fashionistas, intriguing, great friends, compassionate, empathetic, wonder women in their own right, can do no wrong, organized …the list goes on and on. NO ONE…I repeat NO ONE should ever tell us otherwise.
Since earlier I confessed to you I am a control freak you could predict that I hit full organizational mode when it came time to start collecting recommendations. My den became sorority recruitment central. I generated daily “to do ” lists for my daughter and myself. I followed her around with my planner and my note pad making sure we had crossed every “t” and dotted every “i”. I lay awake at night running the lists over and over again through my head. And just when I thought I had it all handled and was getting ready to give myself a big pat on the back along with my own personal vote for “mother of the year”, a new twist occurred!
It seemed that darling daughter’s college sorority campus had private invite teas and parties that **GASP*** my daughter had to yet to receive invites to . How dare they exclude my sweet child (it didn’t register at that moment that the sororities had no idea my daughter existed or that these events were being held in a town that was a 12 hour drive from us!)!! So being the (cough cough* over protective*) great mother that I am I jumped right on the phone and called my national GLO office and inquired (okay demanded) that she be put on “the list”. They were more than happy to oblige my request but only after spending a good 90 minutes on the phone “enlightening” me on the recruitment process at this campus. It was 11 am in the morning and an adult beverage was already calling my name. I was told that even though the sororities on campus had not even had an opportunity to meet my “amazingly wonderful” daughter, some had already decided that she would not be invited back to the second round of parties! I was shocked, saddened, mad and in denial. Surely this women, with the calm voice on the other end of the phone ( and I am pretty sure she had NO NEED for an adult beverage at this time of the morning!) did not know what she was talking about!!!
Now my husband will tell you that he urged us more that once to “run for the hills” but his advice fell on deaf ears!! The possibility of my daughter not being coveted for membership by all 15 sororities on campus was not going to become a reality if I had anything to do with it.
Pulling the roller coaster seat belt just a little tighter we proceed the up hill climb. We searched for recommendations high and low!!! Stalking women who even “looked” like they may have been in a sorority became our daily obsession. Alright…MY daily obsession, my daughter was worrying about baking her way through the Martha Stewart Cupcake Cookbook and who was going to invite her to prom!! I do remember being at the grocery store one day when my daughter came flying down the frozen food aisle where I was standing trying to decide on which flavor of ice ream to buy. “Chi Omega on aisle 2!!” , she half shouted, clamping her hand over her mouth as 10 people turned and stared. “How do you know”, I asked? “She’s wearing a hoodie with the Greek letters on it and I heard her talking about the Make-a-Wish foundation!” You should know that by this time we had both memorized all of the philanthropies for the various sororities! Reigning in our urge to make a “supermarket sweep” mad dash for aisle 2, we meandered over and inching closer and closer with our cart, until we were just barely nose to nose, we began carrying on a conversation about how we just thought that the Make-a-Wish foundation just did the most amazing work. HEy guys we are not creepers!!! I mean a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!!! And at the end of this day THIS girl got her daughter a Chi Omega rec!!!
Our roller coaster ride continued its up hill climb through dress shopping ( the first trip to the Lilly Pulitzer store was one I would personally like to forget! My daughter swore that wearing pink flamingos would scare her for life…Hmm..I might mention she owns 5 Lilly’s now!), dorm room shopping, finding those last few recs and packing for the big trip down for Convocation and move-in.
The beginning of recruitment week is like sitting at the top of the giant roller coaster hill. you are teetering at the top, looking down and knowing that you must hang on for dear life and we did!!
As I kissed my sweet child goodbye, choking back tears reminded her that God had a plan and we didn’t know it yet but she had to trust in him and know that this would all work out for the best (okay so I might have been giving my self the same pep talk as well!!). I love my child…she looked at me wide-eyed innocence and replied, “Yep..well hopefully he got the memo that I want to be a Zeta!” And with that we left her in the circle drive of her dorm and began the 12 hours trek home.
I had made up my mind that I would not call her. I didn’t want to put any undue stress on her. Was in insane???? How could I have made this decision??? Waiting for her to call was pure agony and it didn’t help that her sisters were calling constantly wanting updates. Actually my sweet child did a pretty good job of keeping me “in the loop” and I adopted the “no news is good news” theory. She reported in the first nigh about her Rho Chi group, the fact that one of he t-shirts she had to wear for round 2 was yellow and we all knew that she didn’t look good in yellow, that she has lots of new friends (no doubt on this..she’s very out going) and that she had eaten at a great new restaurant that she would take me to when I can down for Bid Day…just 5 of the “longest days of my life” away.
For the first rounds of parties she visited every house over 2 days. She sent pictures each morning of her herself all dressed in the very cute sundresses we had purchased together. She was excited to receive the “seal of approval” from her roommate and other girls on her floor as well as her Rho Chi. A bit about her Rho Chi..Mia was such a blessing!! I would really encourage your daughters to get to know their recruitment counselors (the go by various names on different campuses). She was there to held her hand, and dry her tears since I was so far away. These young women go through an intensive interview process in order to be chosen for this position.
The waiting to hear what parties my daughter had been invited back to for round 2 was excruciating!! I am one to believe in “signs” and so when Tim McGraw’s “Southern Voice” (my daughter’s and my new favorite song to sing to at the top of our lungs while driving in the car) came on the radio as I was pacing the house waiting for a text or call..I took as a good sign that she was going to get good news and I was right…11 invites back out of a maximum of 11 invited back!! WOO HOO!!! Happy dance through the kitchen!!! There were a couple of houses that had not invited her back (their loss in my opinion) but she was happy and excited and that’s all that counts in my book. 11 houses in two days….I could tell when I talked with her briefly that evening she was tired.
The roller coaster was now over the top of the hill and picking up speed…..and I began to hang on just a little bit tighter!
By the end of Round Two parties my daughter was tired but I also heard worry in her voice when I talked with her that evening. They had been told that many girls would have big cuts that night and that they should not expect full party cards (7 invites was the max amount) the next day. She was struggling with what to wear…suddenly everything she brought she felt was stupid or not as nice as the other girls (WRONG!!). I didn’t sleep well that night. I knew that my daughter was everything that any sorority should/would need and want. Surely they all saw that and she wouldn’t be one of the girls with the big cuts.
The minutes that morning ticked by ever so slowly. The time for her to receive her card came and went…..no news is good news right??? I knew the minute I picked up the phone and was met by uncontrollable sobbing that my theory had just gone out the window. She only had 4 houses! She was devastated!!! What made it even worse was the house she loved was gone!! At this point in the ride my stomach had now lurched into my throat!! That scared, sick feeling was replaced by anger. How dare they!!! Were they stupid??? Why didn’t they love her. I took this personally. I could just picture the sororities making snide remarks about my daughter while they did membership selection. Woah!!!!! I needed to put on the brakes as I went barreling out of control. I needed to get a grip. So while holding onto this roller coaster of emotions for dear life I calmly explained to my dear sweet daughter that she shouldn’t take this personally. More importantly she had 4 great house that want HER!!!! She was invited back out of pity or because they had to, she was invited back because they chose her.
As the roller coaster came to a dip in the road and my daughter dried her tears and went to 4 amazing skit day parties I breathed a sigh of relief….that was until I realized we were now heading up the biggest of all hills…Preference.
Now you should know that I was on an airplane when dear daughter received her Pref invites….I didn’t know if she had 1 or 3. There wasn’t a message on my cell phone when I landed so I knew she had at least 1. What I didn’t know was that it was the practice at this college to take the PNMs phones on Preference so there were no outside influences. I found myself white knuckled, gripping the edge of the roller coaster as it crested yet another hill of emotions. The good news was that when I finally met up with my sweet child she was now enjoying the downward , ride , hands in the air, smile on her face. Preference had gone well…she was in love with one house but would be happy in any of the 3 she had visited this day….the ride was almost over and I for one could hardly wait to get off.
And that’s exactly what happened on Bid Day…the roller coaster arrived at the station of her choice. We unstrapped ourselves and climbed out of the seat and into the arms of those who were waiting for us…her new sisters. I, for one, had tears of relief to get off the sorority roller coaster and have my feet firmly planted on the ground. Looking over at my daughter I realized she was tougher than she looked….she had weathered the ride! We looked at each other and agreed that thankfully our roller coaster days were done.
I know this is a long post but I wanted to share this with you amazing mothers out there on this Mother’s Day Weekend. Remember this… as a mother you want to love and protect your daughter from pain and hurt. This is a roller coaster ride that might be bumpy along the way and there just might be a few tears shed. Remember …as much as you feel that it’s personal when a sorority doesn’t invite your daughter back it’s not. That’s so hard for a mother to understand but its a numbers game..plain and simple and while it’s not always fair it is what it is. I know that each and every one of you will be climbing into the seat beside your daughter…you will hold her hand, scream with delight and dry her tears..it’s what we mothers do. I hold each of you in my heart as you go through this process…know that my thoughts and prayers are with you amazing ladies..
In the book, “Guess How much I Love You” by Sam McBratney, a parent and child are trying to express their love for each other. Each thinks that their love is bigger until one night the parent says to the child , “I love you right up to the moon and back”….that’s the love that we feel for our daughters…..hang on….that “Big” love will get you through!!
Happy Mothers Day 🙂