Sunday, June 12, 2011 Road Junkies 0 Comments

PINE MOUNTAIN, Georgia — In 1996, Rebecca Wells published her now legendary novel The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, chronicling the lives and tenacious bonds between a group of women friends and their female relatives.  The same year, two infant girls were born into a brand new generation of our family, joining another girl baby born the year before.  Hmmm, my sister and I thought, wouldn't it be femininsational if we could nurture these little girls, our own little Yayas, to develop strong ties with each other, to become a constant and source of sisterly strength to each other throughout their lives?

Now those first little Yaya girls are stunning teenagers.  More Yayas have entered our little sisterhood, and the youngest have just celebrated their first birthdays.  Our Yaya bonding has expanded to include moms and grandmothers, aunts and cousins.  Anyone who is female and a relative — or the relative of a relative — is  welcomed into our loving sisterhood, and our lives have been richer for it.

Of course, our Yaya sisterhood has many girly secrets, which must not be revealed to anyone, especially to Yoyos (males of any stripe).  So I can say only so much about this past weekend, when we had a Princess Yaya assembly at Callaway Gardens, bringing together all our under-10 Yaya Princesses, their moms and grandmothers, and even one great-grandmother.  Don't get the wrong impression by my use of the P word.  Our Yaya princesses are not like some of the little diva wannabes seen on reality TV (Toddlers & Tiaras).  Like their moms and grandmothers, these Yayas are strong and brave.  In fact, the activity they wanted to do first involved putting their hands in the mouths of wild animals.

Yes, we trekked off in search of savage beasts to feed and tame at the Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain.  In a brilliant entrepreneurial arrangement, the facility owners rent you a van to drive through their property, sell you food to feed to their animals, and charge you admission for the privilege.  It's ingenious... and it's fun.  Visitors can see, touch, and feed hundreds of exotic animals, including giraffes, zebras, buffalo, antelope, llamas, elk, horses, ostriches and emus, and an endless variety of deer.  The animals walk right up to your vehicle and open their mouths to be fed.  Even our 18-month-old Yaya loved this opportunity to get up close with animals.  Several of the little princesses were talking veterinary science after we left.  Just sayin'...

Karoline & Rachel in 1997 & 2011
Anna, Baylinn & Lizzie
Avery, Emma & Reese
Of course, no princess powwow would be complete without the requisite Tea Party.  And this Tea Party deserved to be capitalized — in calligraphy.  Our incredible Tallahassee Tea Party Team put together an absolutely magical event for these little Yayas, complete with a visit from a Fairy.  And the hats, oh my, the hats!  We did not skimp on frou-frou for this event.

Ladies at the Tea Party
After the Tea Party, we had the first of two VERY SECRET Yaya ceremonies, one for the young ones and later one for some of the ladies.  In fact, they're so classified that I probably shouldn't even be mentioning that we had any VERY SECRET Yaya secret ceremonies due to the danger that some Yoyo may read this.  Of course, Yoyos will never know the exact nature of our VERY SECRET Yaya ceremonies because they are so VERY SECRET.

Enough said about that and hopefully not too much.  After lots more playing and bonding and being silly and playing and bonding and occasionally a little sleeping, it was the morning of our last day.  We packed up and drove convoy-style to Callaway's butterfly house, where Avery found a friend waiting to perch on her finger.

At the butterfly house
Our Yaya sister Nancy documented the weekend with some incredible photography, including most of the photos here and some terrific group shots at the garden before our group of 19 parted ways and headed back to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.  Uh-oh!  Maybe that was classified.  Shhhh!!  Don't tell any Yoyos!

(Sigh)  It was a Yaya weekend to remember.  But only by those who have top secret clearance.  Otherwise, if we tell you, we'd have to make you one of our own, because our secrets are that good.  But our sisterhood... now that's divine!

Jeanne & Alison
Baylinn & the Giraffe


Gina, Carrie & Tonya
Jeanne & Marion
Nanamama, Dianne & Jeanne
The entire yaya group