I believe in the power of women — all kinds. Randy Newman’s short women, John Updike’s sexy women, political women like Hilary Clinton and Michele Obama, family women, friendly women. I love them all.
Personally, I love my friends. Yes, the ones with the double names — Nancy Bauer Collier, Linda Bauer Darr, and Mary Huber Wilker — and the ones without — Molly Sim, Jenny Heimberg, Brigid Schulte, Amy Young, Daria Cook, Jen Walker, and Sheryl Gorsuch. I love my book club buddies — Ruth Brannigan, who should top everyone’s “fab five” cell phone list and Wendi Kaplan — everyone needs a therapist as a friend. I love the ones who have kids and the ones who don’t, but love mine and laugh at their smart mouths when I find absolutely nothing endearing about them. I love the fun women and the serious ones and believe you need to have both in your life if only to remind you that sometimes life is not worth crying about, but sometimes it is. I love the women who have left my life — Kathy Wilson, Elizabeth Rich, and Nancy Foil, whose passing was way too early for me, but whose divine hands I see at work every day when I pause to give thanks for the blessings in my life or take the time to find out why making the school play IS the most important event in the universe. I love the women who have made me mad or made me cry — although going through the eyes of those needles has left scars, I have grown wiser and kinder for having experienced that pain.
Finally, I love the women in my family. In trying not to do me harm, my mom ended up doing a lot of good. I love the fact that she brought me into this world and jokingly reminded that she could take me out of it. I love my Aunt Barbara who stood up for us kids when my mom couldn’t cope and my dad was too busy taking care of mom — she mopped our brows, took our midnight calls, and put us back together after a divorce or two. I love my great aunts Bessie and Margaret who could spin a yarn or tell a tale that would make me weep with laughter. I love the fact that they always made a great batch of Irish rum-laced fruit cake, wondering if that’s how they kept their senses of humor so alive and in tact. I love my Nani and my Grammy. I loved their pride as Catholics and Quakers respectively. I loved learning to sew and learning to reap what one sows in the world — all lessons which occurred at their knees.
Above all, I love my girls — Sara, Meg, and Mattie. I love who they have been as babies, toddlers, children, teens, and now, in Sara’s case, an adult. I love their artwork, music, and friends. I love their laughter, their anger, and their tears even when I haven’t known what to do with any of it. I love that they are courageous, vibrant, sensitive, independent, lively, thoughtful, wild, crazy, and probably way too sassy. I love their voicemails and hate their cellphones. I love their adventures and I love their quirks. I love how they love each other and stick together even when I’m not in the mood to be scolded. I love the lessons they’ve taught me and grovel at some of the wisdom that has come out of their 2-, 4-, 10-, 12-, and 20-year old mouths.