Wings and Broomsticks

i282600889618316666._szw1280h1280_Women are angels and when someone breaks our wings we simply continue to fly on our broomsticks. We’re flexible like that. 

This morning I read a report from CNN that during the big snowstorm of last weekend only women from Congress showed up for work. They somehow managed to find a way to travel through the snowbound roads and get safely to their offices. It doesn’t surprise me in the least. Women have been quietly getting things done regardless of the circumstances since the beginning of time. 

When everyone in a household is bedridden and sick with the flu, the woman in residence will pull herself together just enough to care for the sick. She’ll make some soup and check on the children and push herself past her own fever and headache. She does what needs to be done without notice or fanfare. She somehow finds the energy to carry on even when all she really wants to do is sleep for a week.  

Women are quite remarkable and resilient and all too often underrated. We carry a reputation for being too emotional and harboring jealousies that interfere with our abilities to lead. The fact is that women who rise to the top have had to overcome more challenges than anyone might ever imagine. 

I recall job interviews in which men questioned my ability to be tough simply because I have a very soft voice and a face more like an elf than a manager. I tried to maintain my composure in such situations because I knew all of the problems that I was juggling and they were considerable. I got my college degree while maintaining a household, being a wife and mother, working a full time job, and periodically serving as caretaker for my mom. Little wonder that I rarely found it too difficult to control a class of teenagers. As I sometimes told my students, “I had two brothers and a mom with bipolar disorder.” I had already heard every possible insult that might be hurled at me from my snarky siblings and my sick mom. I had learned the hard way how to stay calm even in a storm.

Women are the backbone of our society. Study after study has shown that men who have found a loyal and supportive wife do better in their careers than those who are not lucky enough to find a strong partner. When the couple shares a mutual respect for one another they become a powerful force. 

Women really are flexible. My mother was a traditional young housewife when my father died. He had paid the bills and made most of the major decisions. He even suggested how she might want to vote. When he died she seemed ill equipped to take on the job of a single parent and yet she rose magnificently to the occasion, earning a college degree along the way and the unending respect of those who knew her.

I have known so many women who have overcome tragedies and difficulties. Mike’s grandmother took over her husband’s electric company and kept it going successfully for years after his untimely death. A friend of mine had a mother-in-law who ran a grocery store when she was widowed. My own grandmother went to work as a cook in a boarding house when she suddenly found herself without a husband or an income. All of these women took a deep breath and then did what they had to do. 

I have laughed for years because my father-in-law has often told the story of how remarkable his grandfather was because he had raised twenty children. I have silently held his grandmother in even higher esteem because she had those kids one at a time without the aid of anesthetics. Now that was a woman! Imagine successfully parenting that many youngsters and guiding them to become exceptional people, which they all were.

I have never completely understood why women have historically been considered to be inferior. Even when I had two daughters I was often asked if I regretted not having a son, as though only having girls was some kind of curse. I understand that in the past boys were the ones who eventually took over the farm work and that females got married and moved away, but we have had a more modern way of viewing the world for decades now and yet the old stereotypes linger. In virtually every society boys are valued more than girls. As for me, I wouldn’t give up my two daughters for anything. They are strong just as the women in our family have always been.

We discuss women’s issues a great deal these days. We still have a long way to go to achieve equity with men but we are making progress. The fact is that we females are biologically different from men. Still, from an intellectual standpoint we are evenly matched. There are now more women graduating from universities than men. They have entered virtually every possible field and only this past week the NFL hired its first ever female coach. 

I’m not a fan of Megan Kelly on Fox News but I am disturbed by the language that Donald Trump has used to describe her and other women for that matter. He is what people from my generation used to call “a male chauvinist pig.” It worries me that so many people are actually defending his remarks and asserting that he is “a badass” for refusing to show up for the final GOP debate unless Fox fires Ms. Kelly. In my mind his actions and words are as unpresidential as it gets and I would expect women everywhere to condemn him. I would like to think that men would follow suit as well. We really don’t need to backslide with regard to our treatment of women and we certainly shouldn’t support men who act like immature teenage boys in a locker room contest. 

I also think that we women will make it on our own. I don’t believe that we need to vote for a woman for president just because we want to break that ceiling. I want our first POTUS to be someone of whom we might all be proud. She should exemplify the most outstanding qualities of integrity and honor. It’s too bad that women weren’t given equity by our Founding Fathers. I think that Abigail Adams would have been a fine president. There are many women today that I would like to see in that office but I sadly don’t think that any of them are running right now. Perhaps someone will rise to the occasion in the near future.

Women are in fact angels. They are the caretakers and nurturers. They bear heavy loads without complaint. They are sweet and loving but they know how to swoop down on their brooms when they are pushed too far. In the long run I believe that they may even be stronger than their male counterparts. They are more likely to be balancing multiple responsibilities at the same time. They should never be underestimated.

I am a woman. I have had to fight over the years but more and more doors are opening for my sisters. That is indeed good. Perhaps one day we won’t even have to discuss such things. It will simply be a fact of life that men and women will be treated equally. I may not see that before I am gone, but I believe that it will come soon, at least in the western world. So I urge the young women that I know to keep their wings in good working order but to also know when to take out those brooms and fly away.


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