I was just a tiny thing when I got the nerve to ask my mom why she chose such a boring name for me. I remember crying and saying it just wasn't fair that Theresa got the beautiful name. Theresa Maureen. I'm not sure if I thought the more syllables the name had, the prettier it was, but I was convinced that I got the short straw in name choice.
There is even a slight possibly that I used my birth order to convince her that I should have received the better name. Anyone who knows my mother will not be surprised by what she said or how she reacted. She wrapped me up in an awesome mom hug and told me that someday I will know just how beautiful my name is.
Anne Elizabeth. plain old Anne.
We all know that mommas are right, right? It just so happened that her right was smack dab in the middle of a family gathering. Many of my siblings were out of the house and on their own, so my parents had family dinners as often as they could so that we could all be together. I loved seeing my siblings, but Theresa and I felt out of the conversations because of the large age gap, so we sometimes snuck away to watch TV in my parents' room. Theresa and I flipped on the TV and was surprised by a cute made-for-TV-movie, Anne of Green Gables. They had me at Anne.
We got sucked into the movie, and I immediately fell in love with the fiery redhead, Anne. It was as if I was looking right at myself. I clung to every word that was said and, even as an 8-year-old, felt such a close bond to this girl who shared my name.
I was snapped quickly back into reality when my mom called us down for dinner. My friends might wonder why I eat SO fast now. I'm convinced it had something to do with that night. There was no DVR and the show was not being taped, so I inhaled my food in order to race back up the stairs before the commercial break was over.
It's hard to describe the pride and appreciation I felt while watching that movie. But I began to realize that the important part of who we are is more than a name, it's our spirit and character that matters. I've always been one to snap, speak before a thought entered my brain and always added flare and drama to any conversation. For example my mom and dad would have to ask, "Is that what you REALLY said, or what you wanted to say." I had the gift of exaggeration and imagination! So when Anne Shirley said, "I'm in the depths of despair." "The iron has entered my soul, Diana. My mind is made up; my red hair is a curse." or, "Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray, I'd tell you what I would do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone, or in the deep, deep woods and look up into the sky - up up up into that lovely blue sky, that looks as if there is no end to its blueness. And then, I would feel a prayer." I just felt like I wasn't alone.
That night was a defining moment in my life, which is why I lost my temper and spilled tears all over the living room when my family HAD to have a family photo, which ultimately turned into different family group photos. We apparently wanted to look like a train. Well the locomotive of impatience swept over my tiny frame and I lost.my.mind.
I know you all want to look at the hot mess of the entire picture, but for the sake of time, focus on the little girl to the right. That's me. Notice the glaring red eyes? My mom had to peel me from the TV so we could take this shot. I should mention that we took the same photo approximately 3 million times, and all I cared about was that MY movie was on and I was missing all the good parts!
It turns out that my mom became a fan of the movie too, so as a Mothers Day gift she received the VHS box set. I was in Green Gable Heaven.
I wish I could talk more about all the characters in the novel/movie, but I've already put you through enough! What I will mention is that Anne found a very dear friend, Diana Barry, when she was adopted by her new family. The two were inseparable, even after Anne served Diana what she thought was Raspberry Cordial, but instead made her drunk:
Diana's mother thought it was done on purpose, so the two were forbidden to see each other. It was gut wrenching. But, I'm sure most of you aren't surprised by this, they were allowed to be friends once more and all is well again!
I was always in search of a Diana Barry. Someone who would drink the cordial of life with me; to be carefree, naive but brave, and suck the marrow out of all that life had to offer. I wanted someone to be weird with! There have been many friends who fit this description and I am grateful for all of them, but the one who is my true Diana Barry is my dear friend, Sara Jackson.
Not only can Sara quote the entire movie with me, but she is the Diana Barry in real life.
I met Sara at my first (and only) internship. She also happened to be be my boss. As our careers put in in different paths, we still remained connected and we developed a very tight-knit friendship. When Sara and I are together, people are bound to confuse our laughter as earthquakes and our tears as hurricanes! We are feelers and we are both extroverts. When we haven't seen one another for a while, it never fails that one of us will call or email and simply say, "let's drink the cordial." This is code for, "Let's dare and dream; create and be present." We dream, we challenge, we take risks, we boldly go where others shy away from. I never leave an outing with Sara feeling empty, and instead I leave inspired and my soul is ignited in her creativity and love for life; it's contagious. Sara believes in me, she pushes me to be better and greater. She is also gentle, kind and compassionate. I am truly blessed to have her as a friend and I only hope she knows how instrumental she has been in my life.
Through a simple movie and the deep connection of friendship, I learned to be proud of who I am, not ashamed of my flaws and to always drink the cordial!