Giving You My Strength

My mom started this junior or sophomore year of high school I think. I always get super nervous, you know, for like a big test or for volleyball and what she did is, she grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me violently and said, “This is me giving you my strength!”

She does it to all of us. Just the other day, I guess, she did it to Tommy, and he goes, “That’s not your strength, you’re just shaking my shoulders!” (she laughs). Oh, Tommy.

I told my roommate, Kayla, about it and she texted me it before my accounting exam. She goes, “This is me giving you my strength.”

I think my mom made it up.

I’ve offered my services to a few people here and there and they always laugh it off.

But, yeah, I think it works. It always does make me feel better, to be honest.

You know, I always thought if I ever got a tattoo, it would be of that. “This is me giving you my strength.” I’m probably not going to get a tattoo, though…I’ll definitely do it for my kids.

context of the performance: 

This description of a family custom before a big event from mother to child was described in a one-on-one conversation between the informant and the collector. We are close friends, which is why she does not explain necessarily who the different characters are in her telling. Tommy is her youngest sibling.

thoughts on the piece:

Though this is a relatively new family custom, it demonstrates a maternal selflessness and concern for her children. As the informant mentioned, what started as something specific to her, the eldest daughter, has become a customary practice. The different children’s perceptions of it is interesting, as well. The informant believes in it so much that she has tried to share it with others and new people in her life say it to her before major events, still. Her younger brother is much more skeptical.