Until Super Bowl weekend, I never knew how much I loved the name Joy.
I’ve always known I liked it … I mean, it’s my mother’s name and my sister’s middle name. It was also my great aunt’s name, for whom both of them are named. I’ve always liked that it has meaning beyond just a name, and that it evokes warm, fluffy feelings in the the same way names like Hope or Grace or Faith make you smile without realizing you’re doing it. But there’s something even more special about the name Joy. I think it’s simple. Joy means happiness. For my mother, introducing herself is like walking up to a new person and saying, “Hi, I’m happiness! Nice to meet you.” The response is incredible. But I never fully appreciated it before last weekend.
MAKING HER ENTRANCE …
Perhaps it was because she was in Dallas to watch her first Super Bowl and to see the team she’s loved and followed and critiqued since she was a kid play for their seventh championship, that it seemed mom was wearing her joy on her always-black-or-yellow sleeve. Everywhere we went, Joy was infectious. With every introduction, she was met with a, “Jooooyyyyyy!” Handshakes became hugs. Hugs became bear hugs. Bear hugs became group hugs. Indifferent fans became Steelers fans (“for Joy”), exhausted friends were re-joy-venated (“Joy! Let’s dance!”) and most friends just seemed to like saying her name. (“Where’s Joooooooyyyy!?”) I even had a few folks tell me they’ve added a new name to their next-baby list. (Hey, me first!)
SPREADING JOY …
And it wasn’t just that she had a different black-and-yellow outfit for every occasion–semi-casual, casual, game day, steak dinner, Maroon 5 concert, party time–or that she seemed to float around Dallas with a perma-smile on her face (or maybe that was the look of exhaustion) or that she was the only mom still out partying with Mark Cuban and Jared from Subway at 2:30 in the morning … Joy really brought the joy. And I am so, so happy I was able to bring Joy to Dallas. After that blizzard, everyone really needed her. (Sorry we didn’t make it to your party, Jerry Jones, I think you could have used a little Joy in your weekend.)
“JARED, I HOPE THAT’S A LITE BEER.”
(And I must add that this trip would not have been possible without the help of several wonderful, thoughtful, incredible friends … You all know who you are and I am forever in your debt.)
NEXT TIME, STILLERS!