March is National Women’s History Month.
In this thirty-one-day calendar span that is neither winter or spring, that comes in roaring like a lion and out like a lamb, we celebrate women!
Here is to those who pioneered art, literature, aviation, the sciences, medicine and architecture. Women who were willing to sacrifice everything for their ideas: Molly Pitcher, who could see the vision of a country ruled without a king. While the British torched the White House, Dolly Madison secured our country’s greatest legacy, The Constitution, before fleeing the burning building. How can we speak of great women in America without mentioning Harriet Tubman who helped to man the Underground Railroad. And lastly, but certainly not least, the women who don the uniform of the United States military services, police officers, fire fighters, first-responders, and all those who serve selflessly in a humanitarian role.
We are the hands that rock the cradle and sometimes the world. Some of our not-so-glamorous moments is when History records us as Jezebel, a name uttered in contempt or with a great deal of smug righteousness. Mata Harie, a spy who bedded, learned and then handed over secrets to the Germans. And there are several other names floating around out there that have had way too much press time the past couple of months that I refuse to mention here.
What is a girl to do?
I need someone with a little more clout and poetic heart than myself to tell all of you that I think that you are all heroes. I checked with Billy Shakespeare (who wrote tremendous love sonnets but my Shakespearean professor insisted that these were tongue-in-cheek, written about other men…) pardon me while I roll my eyes. So, he is indeed not the man to voice his opinion at this time. (Way too much death, references to nunneries and hints of incest.)
And so, that leaves me (sorry folks) to write about the great heroines that grace and have graced my life.
Behind the beautiful faces that I encounter every day as I go to and fro are women that I have come to love and respect. I know that behind that dazzling smile is a strength that cannot be measured with any highly calibrated scientific instrument. We are the consummate professionals at what we do whether it is for pay or not. We are fearless. We face down anything or anyone that threatens our children or the sanctity of our home; customs officials’ whose language we do not understand and transportation officers with a list of reasons why our household goods can not be packed out in a timely manner…and the biggest boogie man of all…our own personal fears. And all of this can happen in just a manner of seconds, less than sixty, but who is counting.
Remember Ginger Rogers who did all the same dance steps as Fred Astire, only backwards, in high heels and always in some type of long, flowing evening gown. Well, that is us. Not that our spouses’ agendas are the same as ours, but at times we must work through their system, with nothing to back us except the status of “This is my wife…” (Please pardon me while I have a laughing fit and fall out of my chair!)
And there are now seven days to payday with six unexpected guests coming to dinner. Oh yes, and he just called again to inform you that he won’t be able to make the dinner party because he is at that moment out the door and will back on Tuesday…that would be, of course, the Tuesday two weeks from now…and he ends the phone conversation with “And say Babe, I know you are busy but could you possibly take ten minutes and pack a bag for me…and I guess you know that the baby is crying.”
Oh yes, we know…pardon us while we take a moment and then back to work.
Because our sisterhood has all experienced these smallish, last minute changes, more than once, it only takes one phone call and magically, many things are put in motion. A casserole comes out of one neighbor’s freezer. There are now fresh tomatoes in your kitchen nurtured from the plant that you can see out your kitchen window, and from further down the street dessert appears at your door.
Perhaps March is the most appropriate month of all for us. For at times we are the roaring rampart lion and other times the lamb. But mostly, we exist someplace in the middle, always with grace and dignity sandwiched in between, just striving to be ourselves.
And so here is to us, the bearers of the xx chromosome. Let us this month celebrate each other and our daughters as well, who will pioneer whatever fields their hearts take them too and some, whose names shall be recorded will shake the foundations of time with their accomplishments.
As for me, I know that my name will never be found in a history book or noted in any scholarly tome. I find great comfort in that for I know that is not what I am about. The greatest honor for me would be to find it etched in the hearts of the people that I love.