She's never been a fan of stereotypical women's roles. When I wanted to be in the band in grade school (which is a different story: one that involves joining only because of the appeal of trips and camps even if I am not a "band" person, per se), she didn't want me playing the flute because that was too "girly." Instead, I played the drums.
I never wore hair bows and rarely wore dresses. She didn't ever really teach me how to put on make-up except for the few times she talked to me about not looking like a clown. Those just weren't things my mom was into. (Don't even get me started on her bad hair choices. She wasted her 30s with terrible hair. I should post pictures. After all, if women are equal to men, she should have to endure a "bad hair" post like my dad did.)
She was, however, interested in leading by example. She worked hard and climbed the ladder at the office, showing me that women can do whatever they want to do. She showed that women are equal in relationships by the way she and my dad interacted with each other. She talked to me about making my own money and not relying on a man to provide for me. And she has always been a champion of women's rights.
So it won't surprise you to learn that when I went to college and participated in sorority rush, she was devastated. She viewed sororities as places where women learned to become good wives. These were places, in her mind, where girls grew into "women who lunch" rather than women who run the world. And honestly, I don't blame her for thinking that way. Sororities don't do a great PR job a lot of the time. You only hear about the parties or the pledge semester rather than all of the great leadership opportunities they offer.
Her protests didn't sway me, though, and I pledged Alpha Phi. I threw myself into it and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it. I lived in the house and held chapter positions for 2 years (both formally and informally). Some of my closest friends are still those girls that I met in the A-Phi house. I learned a great deal about leadership, project management, socializing, and philanthropy because of my sorority. I owe some of my professional success to lessons learned in the greek system.
My wonderful experience as an Alpha Phi may have even changed my mom's mind a little about the role of sororities and their value in modern times.
And while all of those benefits I listed are terrific, the best part of being an Alpha Phi is that it doesn't end when you graduate. There are a lot of activities for alumnae long after your college days are over. And while I don't participate in most of them because of our busy schedules, I do love it when we get the chance to attend an event.
Earlier this week the women of Texas Alpha Phi hosted a Halloween Carnival for the children of local alumnae and we braved the bad weather to attend. It was fun to see the current actives in the house along with some of the girls from my time there. Here are a few pictures from the event.
This is my Lil Sis, Crystal, and her daughter Annabelle. Annabelle was the cutest little garden gnome.
Pictured above: Avery (eating a cupcake and completely unaware that we are even taking a picture) Leia and her daughter, Clara, me and Jack, Crystal and Annabelle, and Kcathy with her baby Micah and son Drew. Leia is a physical therapist with a post graduate degree from Duke, Crystal owns her own successful business as a Stylist (with some famous clients!) and Kcathy, a pledge sister of mine, is a nurse at Dell Children's Hospital. I don't see a "Lady who lunches" in that group! :-)
Avery and Clara were two cute butterflies!Have you heard the one about the butterfly and a garden gnome that walk into a bar....oh wait....
Avery and Jack looking down to "the big room"from the second story balcony of the sorority house. Jack is a lucky guy...not many men make it that far into the house. :-)
I took this picture of Avery when I saw her going up the stairs and memories of me falling down the stairs came flooding back. I may have had a little too much to drink after my 21st birthday and there may have been some sort of trouble getting up those stairs to my room. But I can't say for sure. (*wink*)
How sweet is my little man? He was so cute as he intently watched his sister paint a pumpkin. I love how he rests his little chin on his hands.
Thanks for the great night, Phi girls! And thanks for all the wonderful memories.