She graduated. We celebrated all summer. We counted down the days until she left for college. We moved her in. We left her happy. And then a nightmare set in.
Sorority Recruitment Week.
I was a member of a sorority—the same one that my mother had pledged 24 years before me. That meant my daughter was a double legacy. But I was told again and again that legacies no longer matter. I nodded when they said it, though my heart was secretly hoping that they were wrong, because that mother-daughter sisterhood was just so incredibly special to share.
And I was dying to share it.
I had it all planned out in my mind, in fact. We’d make the hand sign together on Bid Day. I would pass down my mother’s sorority collection to my daughter. These were going to be some of the most special moments of my parenting life, especially because I lost my mother to cancer years ago. I just knew it was meant to be. My daughter would be a third generation member. And my mom would be smiling down from Heaven.
Maybe that’s why my heart shattered into a million pieces when I got the call that she didn’t get invited back to my sorority after the second round. As broken as I was, my daughter was even worse. She was hysterical, feeling like a failure and a disappointment. I cried with her, knowing there would be feelings and judgment out there that I just couldn’t protect her from.
After a day on the couch—mourning the loss of my dream to share such a special bond with my daughter—I realized what I had to do. I had to travel to Bid Day, hug her, tell her how wonderful she is, and pray with her that God would lead her to an incredible new home, wherever that might be. Because my daughter is not me. She is not responsible for living out my dreams. She has dreams and a life of her own. No set of matching letters on our t-shirts will ever be more special than the relationship that blooms from my support of who she is, not who I want her to be.
As one of my treasured sorority sisters once told me, it’s not about the letters. It’s about the quality of friendships that you will make, no matter where you land. I can attest, because I found some of the best friendships in my sorority with some of the best friends a girl could ask for. The kind that have seen me through divorce and the death of my mother. The kind that show up when I need them. This is the stuff that gets us through life, y’all.
Long story short, my daughter knew exactly where she wanted to be after her preference round. And she ended up right there, in a house she couldn’t love more. After meeting some of my daughter’s fabulous new pledge class members and their parents, I am convinced that she will find the highest quality of friendships there. These girls will love and support her for years to come. They will show up when she needs them. And nothing could make this mama happier.
Because it’s not about seeing her in the same letters as I wore on Bid Day. It’s about her journey and those surrounding her along the way. She’s found her people. Good people. And your daughters will, too, no matter where their journey takes them.