Posted by: morrowsl | June 30, 2013

The Sisterhood of Womankind

I spent most of my “formative” years thinking that men were probably the best friends a girl can have.  For the one thing, they’re handy, most of the time, when you need things opened or closed or fixed.  They know stuff girls just don’t have time to figure out.  And they tend to be stronger and therefore some great comfort when you just need that steady shoulder to lean into.  And they can do some really special stuff that nothing with a battery ever gets close to.

I was really tall really early in my life and that brought about a bad case of slumped shoulders as I tried very hard to shrink my 5-foot-plus length into a 4-foot-something world.  But finally, in seventh grade, the “twin towers” arrived in my Junior High homeroom class and I could pull myself up to my full height.  They were the Rickys; two lads named Ricky, both over six foot tall already, both just beginning to adjust to the extraordinary growth spurt that summer after sixth grade had brought.  They were clumsy and awkward and embarrassed.  And I LOVED them!!!!  Next to two such as they I was short and slim and graceful – things I’d never been in all my 12 years.

As the years went by I discovered that a problem with men friends is that I continually compared them all to the one person I considered a “real” man – my dad.  And usually they fell way short of the measure of him.

But it was better to have a slew of male friends than to subject myself to the drama of female friends.  The girls my age were silly and shallow and weak.  They were best concerned with looking like anyone but themselves and capable of spewing total hatred from otherwise lovely beings, much to the shock and dismay of their targets.

Unfortunately, in those days it was easier to just put up with female friends rather than suffer being called a slut or worse because you hung out with the baseball team.  The WHOLE team!!

Thankfully, the wisdom that comes with time has given me a new perspective on relationships with other women.  Time, wisdom, and a pair of daughters.  I tend these days to value my “girl” friends more highly than just about anything else.  With one solid exception which is my relationship with Mike who has always been and will forever be my best true friend.

My daughters have taught me that watching yourself grow up all over again in another female mind and body is almost as painful as the reality of having grown up female in the first place.  With each step they took, albeit down different paths, I saw my younger self approaching the same stumbling blocks and forks in the road and danger zones and rainbow’s ends.  Thankfully, both of my daughters are smarter than me.  The women they have become leave me full of wonder and joy.  They are so sure and purposeful in their decisions and choices.  They have both done things I only have the nerve to dream of doing – someday – and only now, by seeing their accomplishments am I even slightly confident that this woman can live beyond her dreams.  My daughters raised their mother.  They have provided me a role model for what a woman should be.

My mother taught me that you can love someone so hard your heart hurts, but they must love you back almost as hard in order for there to be a close enough balance to keep you from plunging down the hillside of despair, knowing you will never be as good as the person she loves best.  And it wasn’t until her stroke a few years ago that she lost her ability to remember why she didn’t love me as much and therefore allowed me the chance at sure footing.

From my sisters and nieces I have learned that the strongest bond in a family is the bond of its women.  We are the heartbeat of our family.  Mother to daughter, from generation to generation, we nurture and heal and guide and teach and serve our family.  That is what makes a kitchen a gathering place; the kitchen is where the women are and the wellspring of life is there.

And from my women friends I have learned how to be a true friend.  To love without reserve a “sister of the heart” simply because she exists in my world.  To be thankful for the ears that listen to my joys and complaints with equal interest and sympathy.  To know that any conversation containing the words “pelvic exam” or “mammogram” will be full of understanding and silent prayers for negative results.  To feel that other person, just on the outside fringes but standing close enough to catch me should my world suddenly come crashing down around me or to dance with me in joy and celebration at the announcement of happy, positive news.  These are the women who make me happy and proud that I was born female and am part of the sisterhood of womankind.  I know without a doubt I can ask any one of them for an honest opinion, a real favor, a good recipe, to keep a secret, send a prayer, or a myriad of other requests, all of which will be given without hesitation and with all the love she can muster.

How amazing we are.  How truly beautiful in our form and our hearts, our souls.  What a gift we are to ourselves and each other.  How grateful I am for all of the women I know and love.


Responses

  1. I give up!!! I’ve edited twice, deleted and started over, and still WP won’t use the same font throughout the entire page. At least it finally stuck with the color!!

  2. This really resonates with me…thank you.

  3. And we’re grateful for you right back!!!!


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