Oh yes, it is, and I am living proof that it is so much more than that.
Bamaly is a state of mind, a feeling, a group of diverse people sharing one main common bond- The University of Alabama. My son Jack will be a freshman this fall at Alabama and henceforth our automatic membership into the Bamaly.
On Sunday, Jack was Bama Bound for orientation. Living in upstate New York, flights can be limited, and his trip took him through Charlotte to Birmingham, AL. What began as a few delays due to weather and equipment issues ended up with a 20-hour trek to Alabama. But do not fret, my Bamaly kicked in. Let me explain and give some background.
Jack received his acceptance letter on October 27, 2017. I immediately began to look for information on this far away university in the south. Being born and bred in New York with decades of time spent in Manhattan, I was feeling out of my element. This is the south after all and our New York-centric mindset does not allow for the possibilities of a life below the Carolinas unless you are retiring. Was I wrong!
A few parent groups are on Facebook and joined them immediately. I was welcomed with a Roll Tide and Welcome to the Bamaly. What the heck? These people referred to their children as DS (darling son) or DD (darling daughter). Alrighty then….
Then I began to read stories of parents driving to stay with a student in the hospital until his mom was able to get there from California. Dads going to change a tire, strangers helping kids get home for Christmas and some offered the simple gesture of a mom’s hug for a homesick kid. So, when Jack was stranded in Charlotte, I posted the following call for help on Sunday at 2:30 pm EST:
“I need some help. My DS left NY this morning and is stuck in Charlotte. They are cancelling flights to BMH. If he can’t get to UA tonight, can he join up with the Bama Bound process when he gets in Monday? And lastly, if his luggage doesn’t make it, is there a place he can get a toothbrush? 😳
Within minutes and for what continued well past 11:00 pm, the posts came rolling in:
- Our daughter was supposed to fly out today to Birmingham. It looks like all the flights have cancelled to other airports as well. Looks like our daughter is going to drive. Does your son want to ride with her? She said if he doesn’t have a place to stay tonight he can stay on their couch on campus.
- Ben is not sure of the answer. But he happens to be on welcome team tonight so will be able to ask & find out. They go on duty at 3:55 CST.
- I have a DS (rising senior) and a DS (rising sophomore Avanti). The kindness of so many BAMA parents never ceases to amaze me. Message me if I can help at all. Roll tide. ❤️
- Hey there! My son is an Avanti. Can you tell me your son’s latest status? Also, what size kid is he?
- So, the update is he got there, got checked, but won’t get his luggage. Walmart is cheap and has lots of Bama gear. If he needs a ride there, my daughter is there this summer.
- We are in Charlotte but out of town. Sorry we couldn’t offer a bed, meal, hug, anything!!
- Welcome to the Bamaly! Just hate u needed us to swing into action so soon!
Culminating this morning with this one:
So, is he loving it? He certainly got a lot of offers to help him. That is the strength of the Bamaly. Perhaps without the setbacks, he may have been completely unaware that the Bamaly existed. Hope to hear a great story from him. Roll Tide!
As you know, I am a New York Italian mother. I trust very few people with my kids and add the New York element to this and I was flippin’ out. But as each text, post and PM came in, I realized the gift I was receiving, and I was humbled. (Are you tearing up yet? I did.)
Jack got to Bama about 2:05am NY time. He was tired, and I am sure hungry, deflated and beat. My heart was breaking yet I knew it was going to be all right. My Bamaly gave me that comfort and support from people I do not know, have not seen and given the chance would hug them so tight and thank them from my soul.
So yes, Bamaly is a word, a mindset, a state of mind and I hope I can pay it forward to anyone who needs it. Y’all are welcome to come to New York. We make a mean pizza on Friday nights and the garage door will be open because friends use the back door. No need to ring the doorbell, just c’mon in.
Roll Tide Roll.
Thank you Jennifer, Mike/Kathryn/Lexi, Cole/Stephanie, Jennifer, Patricia, Joanne, Suzi, Raquel, Paula, Lisa, Traci, Renee, Danielle, Debbie, Adrienne, Lydia, Woody, Jodie and my apologies if I missed someone. Tell me and I will add you!
The logo is copyrighted and trademarked by the University of Alabama. I thank them for allowing me to use it.