Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Song For the Daughters of Eve

In honor of this week where we celebrate love, culminating this Friday with flowers and chocolate given, hugs and kisses exchanged, I am singing a song in my head. It is song of praise for all the women, the daughters of Eve, I have ever known and appreciated so much.

I sing for a girl that in fourth grade, Cheryl, who kissed me because of something she read in the newspaper and for the girl I had my first crush on.  Kim was, and is, a smart, funny blonde girl who let me walk home with her and treated me nice.  Both of those girls introduced me to concept of romantic love. They taught me that infatuation was not something to be afraid of or run away from.  It was a rush that needed embracing as soon as possible.  People go their whole lives without knowing what it means to feel that way.  I got real lucky that I found it in grade school.

I sing for the girls on the block that I grew up with.  They are the ones that embraced me into their fold and made me and so many others their friend.  They made me confident.  I remember in junior high school, being so excited when Bridget and Anne came up on my porch one Halloween, walking little Faith around.  We chatted, laughed, and I realized I had real friends that I probably would have for life.  That made me happy.  Better yet is that I was right. They are still my friends for life and some the best, most spiritual, and most accomplished people I know.  I have always, generally, made good choices in friends.  I pass that on to my children.

I sing for all the girls I dated and apologize for the fact that I could be a good, but also very terrible, boyfriend. Thank you for sharing your time with me and letting me kiss you on warm summer nights as we said good-bye on your front porches.  Thank you for being patient with someone who was struggling to figure out who he really was.  In those days hearts were broken frequently, both yours and mine. I am glad that many of those shattered pieces have been repaired and we are all still friends.

I sing for the sister girls I lived with throughout my life, Melissa, Stacia and Melinda.  I also sing for my college roommate, Donna.   All of you girls knocked me on the head constantly (and still do) teaching me how it is best to live with women.  Donna, I still clean kitchens, sweep behind the bathroom door, and vacuum crumbs from under the stove because of you.  Mrs. Sharpe thanks you too. Sisters, you continually give me so much. I would do anything for you.

I sing for my mother and my grandmother, who were both always there for us.  Mom was my idol and my teacher.  She was a charismatic person who stood up for her ideals and was a brilliant artist to boot.  She opened her house to all people. I don’t know if genetics play into things like this, maybe it is just growing up with the right example, but that is what I try to do too.  All I know is that my mother deeply informed my life.  My grandmother was the same way, so maybe there is a chain.  After my mother died, way too young, Zudie became our mother.  She was the caring moral compass that we all revolved around.  I love them both for growing me into the man I am.

I sing for the women I circulate around with now; neighbors and friends.  There are many. There is my “gal pal” Julie W., who brings beer and stops by for a nice long chat or invites me to Cubs games. There is Jill, who is subtly trying to make me well by leaving secret packages of organic, wholesome food in our mailbox or on our doorstep, and who keeps telling me that yoga might be nice for me. There is my next door neighbor, Sandy, who picked me up off the ground one time when I fell, and who brings me books of spirituality.  I’m not always prone to read those kinds of things but there is one I keep on my bench in my studio and tend to look at randomly every morning.  It is called “Hope for Each Day.” It is a book by Billy Graham. It makes me think and smile. I have good neighbor women.

I sing for all of the accomplished and brilliant women I have had the privilege and pleasure to work with. In some cases I worked for them, worked beside them, or led them. In any case, I just refer to them as my colleagues and friends.  Lynda, Liz, Tracy, Julie M., Lauren, Joyce, thank you for giving me your trust and being my friends.  Best team ever who through their efforts made me look a whole lot smarter than I am.. Ginger, we will eat alligator again and sit under magnolias on a beautiful NOLA Garden District porch, laughing, and drinking Abita.

I sing for Mrs. Campbell, who is my best friend and I will always love.  I would die without her.

I sing for a girl that lies sleeping in a room over my head, cuddled with her dog. She is my daughter.  She has given me hours, days, months and years of endless joy.  Every morning, Meredith, when you come to kiss me, wish me a good day and to see if I need anything a spark is lit in my life. Thank you for all the daddy-daughter dances, letting me coach you on your teams, and the spontaneous dance parties in the car when I drive you from one place to another.  You’re becoming a woman now, and that sometimes scares fathers, but I am pleased. You are intelligent, curious, funny, and compassionate.  You are and will continue to be a fine woman.  Your Tom is proud.

I finally sing for a woman I met in college that was my best friend while I was there.  One that was reckless enough to decide to fall in love with me and to allow me to love her the same way.  She is golden.  She is the smartest and kindest person I have ever known. She is my wife, she is the mother of my children; she is my comforter and my mentor.  In the way she gives, it drives me to want to give more.  She allows me to walk in the clouds but keeps me tethered to the ground lest I get to close to the sun and fall.  Most of all she knows me best, with all my faults, and still loves me.  Who could ask for more?  I sing a different, more beautiful song, for Karen.

Thus this particular song has ended.  I could talk about a lot more women who were important to me, that influenced my life, but space constraints prevail.  Know this though. Every woman who has entered my life has had a positive impact on it. The story goes that Adam gave a rib so that he would have a woman to share his life with.  In my mind, following the story, it was small gift that Adam gave to receive back to him and the world.something so hugely wonderful beyond imagination. 

I treasure all of the women in my life as I treasure me.  Therein lays the gold.