Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men. —Joseph Conrad
We are surrounded by strong, beautiful women. We see them every day. They are essential to our lives. In fact, contemporary society could not function without them. Even though they still lack full equality in a number of areas, that in no way diminishes the important roles they play in all our lives. Yesterday, however, brought three very strong, very beautiful women to mind and now that I have a few minutes I think it is appropriate to talk about them.
Former First Lady, Nancy Reagan passed away yesterday at age 94. Politically, Mrs. Reagan and I could not be any further apart, but that’s not what made her notable. She married and supported one of the most challenging men of the twentieth century through some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable. Her husband was shot, almost fatally, and she never left his side. When his mind began to deteriorate, she was there, a buffer between him and those who dearly wanted to paint him in a negative light. She stood strong on issues she supported. She fought breast cancer and won. She survived vicious attacks on her character. Through it all, she never stopped being elegant. She never stopped for a pity party. She never stopped being beautiful.
Yesterday would have been my late mother’s 83rd birthday. Mother was a staunch conservative whose Christian belief system dominated everything she said and did. She might have been short in physical stature, but her character was ten feet tall and there was no one on the planet who dared challenge her. I remember when former Oklahoma governor David Boren was running for re-election. The Governor was tall, large, and had the ability to present an imposing figure. Mother marched right up to him on a campaign stop, gave him a look that forced him to bend down to her eye level, and proceeded to grill him for ten minutes on the need for better education funding in the state. She backed down from no one and didn’t mind telling someone what they needed to hear. Being a pastor’s wife wasn’t easy, and neither was raising my brother and me. She managed on a budget that was impossibly small. Yet, never did she lose her sense of dignity and genteel gracefulness. She was always beautiful.
March 6 also marks three years that Kat and I have been together. I had a lot of respect for single moms before having met Kat, but she drove home the concept of women who could manage work, children, and every other challenge of life on her own. Strength? She is a United States Marine. Even though she hasn’t been active duty for a few years now, that strength and determination still show. She faces every challenge with the same grit and no-fail attitude as she would an obstacle course. She’s handling school and work and children, and most incredibly, me and still manages to find a smile, to be there for friends, and impress those who watch her in action. She keeps me going, remembers the lyrics to my favorite songs, picks me up off the floor when I fall, encourages me on the days I can hardly walk, and finds ways to make me smile when I am in full-fledged grumpy old man mode. She’s beautiful from every possible perspective but threaten her family and she won’t hesitate to leave one gasping for air.
There is no sense in which we give enough credit to the women in our lives. These are but three immediate examples of how brilliant, strong, inventive, creative, determined, and beautiful women are. I could add to the list infinitely and if you can’t as well you’re just not paying attention.
Mondays are rough for everyone, we all have challenges when it comes to adjusting from the weekend and getting into the routine of the week. Consider just how much more challenging it is for the women in your life. Not only are they having their own issues with Monday, their dealing with children’s issues, spousal/partner issues, and probably the issues of people at school and work, because it is women who most often end up resolving everyone’s issues, not just their own. Don’t you think it’s about time you said thank you?
And if it’s appropriate and possible, a kiss wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.