January 21, 2017, Prescott- I was delighted by the snow that fell, this morning. It was just enough to make everything lovely and to give me two hours of exercise. Whilst shoveling, I noted that it was close to time for the Women’s March to take place, downtown. I finished clearing the walk, for the sake of my neighbour, a disabled woman, who is wheelchair-bound and needs a clear path, at least three times a week. I then took a rest, and thought very happy thoughts about the sky having cleared, for the marchers and for those with other business. If someone chose to march today, God bless her. If someone made other uses of their time, as long as (s)he hurt no one- God bless her, too.
Women and girls have lighted my world, from as far back as I can remember. The most powerful woman I have ever known, has never marched or staged a public protest a day in her life. She raised five of us, with two special needs children (my youngest brother and me) as bookends of her parenting. She is a ferocious liberal, who loved her conservative husband with all her heart, and loves/ abides three moderately conservative children (my beloved siblings), and me-the gadfly. Her motherhood took the lion’s share of her life’s work, but does not define her.
The most beloved woman in my life, now departed, would have gladly taken part in today’s march, but would never have turned her back on basic values of respect and validation for those with opposing points of view. She loved her ultraconservative father, even when his social comments broke her heart. She and I would have heated conversations, but not once did they impact our commitment to one another. She loved being a mother and wife, every bit as much as being a teacher, and a scholar.
I know, and love, thousands of women and girls, of all political/ideological viewpoints, and of no such viewpoints. Their rights are the same as mine. Their dreams and aspirations are every bit as valid as those of any man. Their strengths and abilities can only do the world good. The woman who chooses to be a homemaker, teaches, nurses the sick or cares for others’ children is as valuable, to society, as she who practices law, runs a corporation, repairs motor vehicles or serves in the Armed Forces. The conservative, who prefers a “traditional” lifestyle, and the progressive, who is in the vanguard of social change, are vital to one another, and would that they see this. Each is certainly vital, in my world.
It is the nurturing presence, the capacity for bonding and the devotion to others, basic to a human female and expressed in so many ways, that makes standing up, for the well-being of women and girls, so essential. In whatever way one marches- in serried ranks, two-by-two or singly and alone; publicly, or at home, in one’s own mind; by speaking out before a crowd or by raising strong people, you, dear one, are making a difference.