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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The March of Women

Over the weekend I heard reports of women marching both near and far away.  I tried to relate, but was embarrassed by most of what I saw.  I tried to relate because I usually feel an instrinsic connection to with women that transcends opinions.  I wanted to connect, but I could not.  Today I saw women marching and I was proud.

I saw a young woman marching into the classroom to teach even younger women-to-be and future men the basics like reading, math and science.  It's her first classroom and she is still learning, too. But she shows up each morning with a smile and a positive attitude.  She modeling the march for little girls and boys each day.

I saw another woman marching into a middle school before she had to be there to help a student who has fallen behind.  She earned nothing extra for her twice-weekly efforts or her consistent presence to make sure he stays on track in his difficult subject.  She is quietly and consistently marching.  Her work may never be documented by the media, but our family will never forget her investment.

Earlier this year I was moved by another woman in the super center who was shopping for back to school.  She was marching to gather supplies and provide for her own woman-child, the one marching to the beat of her own unique, middle-school drum.  I was moved because this woman has faced serious setbacks, addiction, jail-time, false starts.  But she kept marching.  She was marching for her daughter.

Not long ago I was able to dine with a woman marching in high places: government, management, leadership.  She marched with kindness, determination and focus.  She was disciplined and credentialed.  This woman marches in places of great influence.  She inspires me to march well, also.

This week I see women marching to the gym to donate their time and their talents to teach little women basketball.  I see women march to the church to donate money and time to share hope.  I saw an elderly woman slowly march to her front door, leaning heavily on the aid of her friend and her walker.  She marched through great struggle.

Every day I see women marching.  Some with energy and zeal, some with resignation and struggle, some with pain and longing.  Yet they march on and with them the future for womankind and humankind everywhere.

I get it, I have personally experienced many of the struggles that are particular to being a woman: bullying, poverty and government assistance, infertility, special needs, single parenting, childcare woes and zero pay for maternity leave.  I faced childhood sexual trauma and our family has grieved with illegal immigrants who are lost in the underworld of being undocumented.  I have to discuss pornography with my children,  We attend Title One schools. I struggle with working and finding balance for family life and personal aspirations.  I've been a corporate warrior and a secretary as well as a work-at-home mom.  I relate with most women in some way and draw from that connection. I do not march with some who protest in parades, but I am proud to march daily in conquest for what is right and dignified.  I am honored to be a woman.  I am pro-woman and desire to empower women everywhere.

There are days when I am required to stand up and stand out.  But most days, my best effort is made by marching forward and onward, looking to my left and my right and nodding in camaraderie with those marching, too.  We link arms and reach out to those who are trying to get their own footing and together we rise.