Tuesday, August 18, 2015

To my Alpha Phi sisters at UA

Dear Alpha Phi Sisters at University of Alabama,

I write to you as an alumnae of Alpha Phi to share some wise words in light of the negative media blitz occurring around your recruitment video.  Please do me the honor of listening to what I have to say and understand I am coming with some years under my belt and I hope you take my words to heart:

You rocked that video. Period.

Shame on the media for turning an innocent recruitment video of some girls (who happen to be lovely) showing off their sisterhood in different locations, into something vile, racist and degrading to all women. SHAME ON THEM.

You should not have to apologize or hide something that you obviously took a lot of time and effort to produce.  You should not have to apologize that a lake shot included girls in bathing suits. You should not have to apologize that even strong, smart women like to be silly and have fun with their sisters.  You should not have to apologize or hide a video that you should be proud of.

The continual argument for/against Greek life is never ending.  It seems easier for us, as Greeks, to understand that maybe it's not for everyone.  While we will defend our sorority or our choice, it is not a type of cultish thinking that we have to convince everyone that going Greek is the only way. Why so many who choose not to go Greek feel that they need to demonize these organizations is beyond me.  Why they have chosen to single out you, and this video is even more baffling.  They obviously don't understand and have proven that they have no intention to understand, just to judge.  Let them have that, you can't change that, but you can and should be proud of what you did because you did nothing wrong.

The "feminist" who started the media storm certainly has no pictures of her and her friends laughing or hanging out, she dare not show herself in a swimsuit or worse yet have a pic snapped of her, enjoying her friends must not be allowed and remembering times they shared in video or pic is obviously completely unacceptable and a true mark of anti-woman power in her book.  If I'm wrong then I hope she pulls out some college pics and remembers what it's like.  What it was like to be young and independent for the first time.  What it was like learning how to juggle responsibilities with fun. What is was like going through some of the toughest experiences you were yet to have and finding true friends who would help you come out the other end.  What it was like to work hard and play hard.  What it was like to be a woman and feel smart and pretty and empowered all at the same time. What it was like to find your voice. What it was like to find yourself.  What it was like to share those experiences with the friends who you lived, ate and breathed with.  If she has no pictures to look back on then the shame isn't on you, the shame is for her...what a shame.

Being an Alpha Phi is nothing to be ashamed of, it is something to celebrate, as you did, as you should. So I hope that you ladies feel nothing but pride for that video. I'm glad you have it to look back on, when college is a memory and one you miss.  I'm glad you have a video of your smiling faces and closest friends, having fun, feeling good about yourselves, making memories, promoting your sorority.  Promoting Alpha Phi.

I wish you an amazingly successful recruitment. I know how it works, The video was for fun, but recruitment is where the true meaning of our sisterhood is shared.  The high GPA standards, the huge philanthropic events, the values we were founded on by the women who weren't allowed to join the boy's fraternity...so they started their own.

Best of luck to you all.  I will now reminisce over my college pics, which were thankfully taken before social media, and I will smile, because my Alpha Phi memories are some of my favorite and always will be.  Because, as we like to say, Forever a Friend. Forever a Sister. Forever an Alpha Phi.


Pledge Class '97
Beta Omicron

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In sickness and in health

I felt like something needed to written to honor a marriage that has lasted almost 64 years.  My Granny and Grampsy will have been married 64 years on May 21st.  It's something that just brings admiration and awe when spoken of.  In a time where 50% of marriages end in divorce, to hear of one lasting so long is almost shocking.  But they are of a different generation and mindset and with that came some really long marriages that only ended with a trip to heaven. That will be the case with my grandparents and unfortunately may be sooner rather than later.  My Granny has been rapidly declining with dementia.  It's been a struggle and I could blog for pages on it, but ultimately what would come out of a blog like that is dementia sucks.  Really really sucks.

Watching her decline has been hard but what has been really tough is watching my Grampsy deal with it.  This blog is a tribute to him and his devotion as a husband to his wife who has sadly come to forget him most of the time.  This is a tribute to the vows, in sickness and in health, that he has stood by and never wavered on.

When Granny first went into the hospital, we were at the beginning of the decline. She fell and had to be admitted, which seemed to be a traumatic enough experience to set those awful wheels of dementia into motion.  We had already started seeing significant changes and as my aunt was relaying the unfortunate information to the doctor, regarding the anger and paranoia, my Grampsy very calmly made a comment about her still attempting the bridge game in the newspaper.  It was said in a way that didn't seem to be trying to argue the information my aunt was giving but rather a glimpse into his loyalty to her.  He knew everything my aunt was saying was true, but he still felt a need to be on team Granny and stick up for her, or just be on her side.  It touched me. It could have easily been overlooked, but there was something about the tone and the way he touched her hand after saying it that just struck me.  As I remember it, I don't even think he had any ulterior motives to that comment, that is just what comes with being married to someone for almost 64 years, and it was amazing to see.

Granny did come home, but it got very bad fast.  I went to stay for a couple nights to try to provide some relief for the all night episodes they were experiencing.  It was exhausting both physically and emotionally, but the one night I heard her yelling and I went in to check on her at 1:30am I found Grampsy sitting on the bed.  She was calling for him, but couldn't register he was there and he just sat on the bed holding her hands, trying to calm her and saying "I'm right here Hon, Nancy you have to calm down and rest."  He would stroke her hair and ear lobe and keep grabbing her hands, trying to soothe her. It was futile and he knew it, that is why he let me send him back to bed and I said I'd take over, but he still was in there when I got up, he still went to her, he still tried even though he knew it didn't help.

She has since been moved to a nursing home facility and he goes to visit her every day. He is 87 years old and still works at Kroger's, bagging groceries to stay active, but as soon as he gets off work he drives the almost 40 minutes to go sit by his wife, who is slowly forgetting him.  But sit he does.  Not for the conversation, or because he needs to, simply because he made a vow that he is choosing to keep, no matter how hard it might be on him.  He married her when they were "kids" and they have been together almost 64 years. Because he loves her and wants to be with her. Because he is the epitome of a true husband and man.

I drafted this blog over 2 years ago and remember needing to walk away from it, because it was an emotional one for me.  I have chosen to leave it alone, because I remember writing it with a lot of raw feeling for what was going on, I didn't want to loose that with edits, so I will provide the updates here.  Sadly we lost Granny in April of 2013.  She went peacefully and hopefully is in a place with all her beautiful memories that had left her in this world too early.  I miss her all the time, but see her in the cardinals that will visit our yard from time to time.  Grampsy will be celebrating his 90th birthday in August and still works 3 days a week at Krogers. He will be taking the Honor Flight this summer to commemorate his service in WWII and visits Granny's memorial every week.  He is something else and I am a lucky girl to have him for a Grandpa, this one was written for him.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I didn't give "Birth" I had a C-Section.

Has anyone else seen that Facebook page floating around tauting C-section mothers didn't give birth, they caught a lucky break?  After I did a little research, it is speculated to be a satire page, however, someone somewhere had this thought, made a page and created lovely images to post and then hid behind the guise of a religious organization...so I direct this blog to them, and the over 900 people who have liked the page, satire or not.

I would first like to provide to these enlightened people this little piece of wisdom...it's called a definition:



an act or instance of being born:
the day of his birth.
the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring; childbirth;parturition:
a difficult birth.
lineage; extraction; descent:
of Grecian birth.
high or noble lineage:
to be foolishly vain about one's birth.
natural heritage:
a musician by birth.
any coming into existence; origin; beginning:
the birth of Protestantism; the birth of an idea.
Archaic. something that is born.

While I do not see the word "vagina" or "vaginal"  in these definitions, your page has obviously applied that necessary attribute to support your banter. So you know what, to make this easy on your very narrow minds, I say this to you: I will let you be right.  You can have the word "birth", you keep on ignorantly using the word incorrectly and try to peddle around your ridiculous rhetoric. You know why? 

Because having that word is just semantics.

I have my experience, which is my own, no one else's, as is every birth story.  Some go perfectly, some go horribly and most don't seem to go as expected.  That's the funny thing about having a baby, it's really all about the baby at that point and any picture you have in your head gets thrown out the window to bring this little life into the world safely.  My story was less than ideal and actually I had a lot of guilt about it.  I wanted more than anything to have a natural, vaginal birth, you know, the "real way" as you so eloquently put it...more than anything.  But Piper had other plans, with her ginormous head and sunny-side up placement.  So give "birth" I didn't do, as your page so kindly points out. I did, however, do something, because babies don't just poof into existence, if they don't come out of your vagina, so here is what I did do:

I created a human being, in my body for 9 months. A wonderful, spunky, stubborn, funny little girl.  I nourished her and brought her to the point of birth.  I labored for 19 hours, intense, induced laboring that brought my will to it's knees.  I went through almost 4 hours of active pushing. I was hanging from the rafters trying to get her to pass through my canal, but that wasn't going to happen, my birth canal just wasn't big enough to let through her 98% head. So you are right I "didn't have what it took to get the job done".  Oh, I also don't have what it takes to be a man, because my body wasn't born with a penis...boy does that sound stupid and irrelevant? Hmm. Anywho, so I then had to go through prep for a c-section, while still in active labor to then be wheeled to an operating room so my daughter could join our family.  I didn't "give birth" in your very skewed depiction of the experience, I had surgery, full blown, cut open on an operating table, surgery...oh and by the way, I was awake.  Laying there as they pushed and pulled and moved my organs around to get to my baby.  All the while waiting, like every other mother, for that baby to cry. Cry she did, but I couldn't bend over or sit up to grab her and hold her and cuddle her immediately, no I was strapped down, because I was shaking so bad from the surgery and the cold (god it's cold in those rooms). So instead I lay there waiting to just see a glimpse of her, which took, what seemed like forever, waiting for them to weigh her and clean her and wrap her up, and even then, I didn't get to hold her, she was handed to my husband and all I could do was turn my head and gaze upon her beauty.  So when you say, I "caught a lucky break," you're right there too. I was super lucky to be in a wonderful hospital, with trained people who knew what to do when I "couldn't get the job done" so that Piper would live. I was very, very lucky that I had an option before things got dangerous for my baby. But, my experience wasn't done yet, no, I then had to lay there while they continued to press and remove air and then go through the long, long, long process of being sewn back up.  I didn't get to stay in my room and "birth" my baby and then enjoy.  I had to go into recovery, because as I stated before, I had full blown surgery.  The reality is I was going through this amazing experience and I was recovering from a very invasive procedure. But I did it, because that is what becoming a mother is about.  Selflessness, and putting my needs aside to tend to this little life that just ended up in my arms and built our family +1.

So you can say I didn't give "birth", I'll let you, because I know what I did.  What I won't let you do is take away the "experience" every mother goes through to bring their child into the world.  That I won't allow.  I also will not agree with any type of comparison or claim that one "experience" is superior, harder or better than the other. Because what really happens when a baby is delivered is a world-changing, life-altering, amazing, wonderful experience that brought me my child, that grew my family and created a love I never knew was possible. That is what almost all mother's walk away with, how we got there is details, and with your thinking, semantics and frankly none of your business.

So, that is it! Giving "birth" is a word. And we, we as mother's who support each other and are there for each other, we are above a word. So you can have it. Because what you will never be able to have is our experiences. 

And now a note to any Mommy reading this:

No matter how your baby came into this world, I salute you. That is some experience you had and I hope you never let anyone or group take away an iota of what you went through! 

Because no matter what your experience was, it was real, it was valid and it was amazing!