My daughter, Eva seven year old extraordinaire, has a southern accent. Actually not just an accent she has the full drawl. She says y’all without the apostrophe. And that scares me. I am a New Yorker. Not upstate New York….Long Island. I am a city girl. I didn’t even know what the Civil War was before I moved to Richmond. Well, I did but it was just a blip in my Social Studies career. I never watched Gone with the Wind until I lived in Richmond. I never made eye contact with strangers or brought brownies to new neighbor’s doors. But now I am raising four Southerners. (four that still rocks my world when I say it!)
When we first moved here I heard the acronym GRITS. I had no idea what it meant. Eventually I learned what it stood for – Girls Raised In The South. It was not a phrase I had ever contemplated before. We had our own acronyms in New York but none that I want to go into in this post. But southern girls drank tea and wore dresses. What did they have to offer me?
So now I am raising Southern girls and I don’t know quite what to do. Part of me is ready to head right up to New York for the summer. I’ll take them to the Golden Coach diner. We’ll jump on the LIRR and be in the city in 28 minutes. I’ll navigate Penn Station faster and easier than I can the rotaries at the Westchester Target. Then the next day we will take the train to the beach over that super skinny bridge. We’ll pay $10 per person to get on the beach but it will be worth it because ….because that is my home.
But I have Southern friends – good old South Carolina southern friends. Women that say y’all just like Eva. You would expect these women to be gracious because they are Southern. And they are. But they are also strong…surprisingly strong. And now I can’t think of a better combination for my daughters – part Northern city girl lurking somewhere in their hearts and part waiting for Rhett Southern girl. But since I’m not heading for the busy streets…yet… I need to call on my Southern girlfriends and ask them to help me raise girls that will know the individual battles of the Civil War and know that Sweet tea is not just tea with a packet of sugar in it. If they end up in the North they won’t quite understand why things are open on Sundays and why men don’t always take your groceries to your car and pack them neatly in the trunk without asking for a tip.
When I began my day and this post I was lamenting the fact that Eva would never have cawfee in a dinah. But as I looked around and surveyed my company I relaxed a little and postponed that trip to the diner for just a bit. Instead I’ll put my feet up and enjoy the moment..for a moment…and enjoy the pace of life that I am lucky enough to be experiencing right now. And I’ll still be scared that I am raising Southern girls but I’ll rest a little easy knowing that they have so many fabulous examples surrounding them.