Published By Rebekah Wilson Slayton on October 8, 2019.
Last Saturday was a day of fabulous food (and lots of wine😍), wide-open spaces, beloved family, overwhelming love, and fond remembrance. We came together in Southwestern VA to celebrate the lives and legacies of my Granny and her sister, my Sweet Libby. Though our time together was short, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
I am still in awe at how much peace I felt being with my loud, beautifully chaotic family. I guess it may sound silly that in chaos, I found peace, but it’s true. Being surrounded by people who share DNA, and have the same lifelong memories, is a rare and amazing experience that is soul-warming. I know Granny and Sweet Libby would’ve absolutely loved every second of it! They both loved people, and more importantly, THEIR people. Yes, they would‘ve embraced the chaos, no doubt about it!
While everyone present has a special place in my history and my heart, I have to say that being around the female members of my family was especially soul-stirring. There’s so much of Granny and Sweet Libby that lives on in us, and that’s an amazing and beautiful thing! We are all strong, proud, intelligent, and capable women, but we are also emotional, hilarious, witty, and full of moxie. The men in our family often sit back and shake their heads, while we women take Center Stage. It’s an interesting dynamic, and frankly, pretty hysterical. We are definitely modern-day Southern Belles, and I’m sure to the outsider, that could be intimidating. To me, it’s absolutely magical, and I wouldn’t change a thing!
You see, I think every single female in our family could easily be classified a Steel Magnolia. We are strong, and in that strength there is a delicate beauty. It’s a beautiful thing to hold your own, and take care of your children, your spouse, and your home. It’s also a blessing to be able to show emotion and empathy without fear of being called “soft”. Men get the shaft in that arena, but hey, they still seemingly run the world, so it’s hard for me to feel too sorry for them. (Notice I said ”seemingly”, because let’s face it, it’s hard to run the world from backstage.😏)
Anyway, without further man-shaming, let me finish with this. I am proud to be from a family of Steel Magnolias. I love every single one of them. I miss my Granny and Sweet Libby every single day, but I know they’re waiting for us all to come join them on Center Stage in a far better place. One sweet day, we will all be there together again. What a day that will be! It does my soul good to rest in that blessed assurance. Until then, I will cherish every moment with my family; The Backstage Boys and the Center Stage Steel Magnolias. Hey, come to think of it, that would be a great name for a sitcom…or at the very least, a decent Netflix movie!
Shelby: “I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”
~Steel Magnolias, 1989