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Over the Red Bricks

Positively Speaking

“Mom”, my son said. “I think we’re in the same room we were for Caity”.  Sure enough. I opened the door and there sat my son in the same room he sat in when he was nine and holding his sister for the first time. Only this time, his wife was giving birth to their first born son. It was breathtaking.  Leaving them to do their work, I went to the waiting room and breathed that wonderful breath that happens when you realize life has come full circle and all is well.

My daughter in law is a wonder. A gift from God. I have prayed for her since Isaac was born.  She and her family came through the Serbo –Croatian war.  She and my son are a perfect match. Bless her heart she birthed the most beautiful baby boy ever.  I did say I was the grandmother didn’t I . With that, both she and I entered new chapters in our lives as women.  Forever after when we remember our first born son’s delivery we will both place ourselves in memory in the same room. Isn’t that exquisite?

It gets better. Her mother and I get along the way Billie and Ellen do. I always wanted that for myself. Billie and Ellen are in laws friends such that one has to remember who has the son and who has the daughter.  Right after I ran into them having fun buying clothes at Dressbarn, I had a night with my daughter in law’s mother where we were alone with Pavle like two girls in junior high with a bag of grown up make up.  Eventually we did tell my daughter in law that after we carefully washed him, we accidently covered him in baby shampoo. Since when do they put baby shampoo in a tube?!!  And please print labels bigger for middle age grandma’s who need ‘readers’.

I love being a woman.  I grew up with all brothers in a very sexist household. Nonetheless I was raised to hold my own like a boy. When I went to my all women’s college I discovered the joy of sisterhood. It continues to today. 

It was hard being a woman during the women’s movement. It was hard to delineate how we wanted to be fully ourselves and in that be true equals.  Instead you ended up having to prove you were a woman by wearing a pantsuit, going to work and if you wanted to get promoted being the biggest itch-bay on the block.

Having children breaks you. I’ve given birth and I’ve adopted. They both require a sacrificial lifestyle that defies boundaries of all sorts. It also makes you a real woman. It puts you in touch with the parts of being a woman that are about nurturing and caring and pulling off major birthday miracles and being strong when you’re in the emergency room and you hear the nurse completely break the bone as your child is sitting there trying to show range of motion. It brings out the mama lion in you.  A Lion you didn’t know you had.

My ability to be friends and supportive of all women has been sorely tested. I was deeply angry at my adopted daughter’s birthmother. It was very hard for me to understand how on earth she could betray and walk away from this beautiful talented little girl. It’s why I wait for my daughter’s mid life crisis. I have carefully kept all the documents and heritage of her life and cherish the anticipation of sitting beside her and going over it all with her as an adult.

Giving birth to my daughter was the miracle I never expected. Nine years and umpteen miscarriages later…a girl. Teaching her about the joy of being a woman has been extraordinary.

There are some middle management women who are unhealed victims of abuse that have challenged my kindred spirit as well. It seems like they’re missing the best part. But every single time I have the opportunity to say, “I don’t think you are enjoying being a woman very much” the pain of enduring their pain is released.

There is no greater joy than encouraging another woman to let herself either soften or be empowered , however she is out of balance. And to sit and laugh and share stories and speak the realities of our lives is a blessing that is of eternal value.

When it became OK to be gay ( well more OK than a death sentence) it was hard to help the world understand that there were some women ( like myself) who could be and were friends with women without it involving sex.  That’s hard for the world to understand anytime.  But eventually the pendulum swung back to a perspective of balance.

March is women’s history month. As the first legitimally called female solo pastor in Western Washington in the denomination with whom I was associated at the time, I certainly understand the importance of genderbreaking positions. 

But the richness for me is held in the coffee klatches, and around boxes of tissues, or working on projects that will not change the world only a few underage lives, or…giving birth.  We birth children, we birth ourselves.

In ancient days women stood on red bricks and squatted to give birth.  That’s us, the world around. Supporting each other in the joy of birth or the sadness of children that will never be.

Be kind to your sisters. Don’t mess with their men ( or women if you’re given to that).  Don’t involve someone in hurtful situations.  Share what will help. Encourage good change and dance, dance , dance for the joy of having estrogen surging through your body.