Blogs by Rosalie D. Heart
10/4/2011 9:15:02 AM
September 11th is complicated for our family because it is also the birthday of my grandson, Noah. I have felt an unnatural mixture of sadness and celebration for the last seven anniversaries of 9/11.
“Grand mom, you have to admit, it’s a man’s world and all that matters is war and muscles. Being a girl is pretty useless.”
Picture Malia, my ten year old grand daughter and I sitting on our front steps watching six 7-year-old boys tumbling, wrestling racing, and challenging one another. Juice boxes transformed into squirt guns and carrot sticks became projectiles. Toasted marshmallow on long sticks became flaming swords.
My first response was to reassure Malia, that she had power and vision and could impact the world. However, I squelched my knee jerk reaction to launch into my own historical perspective.
In my twenties, thirties, and forties, I marched, protested and joined millions of other women who demanded more personal power and power in the world. I also wanted a different world for my daughter. And that happened. When I went to college in the early sixties, teaching or nursing were the professions open to women. I wanted to be a photojournalist. My daughter chose to be a doctor. My vision did not extend to the world my grand daughter might inherit
I breathed into my heart, and let go of telling her about my participation in peace marches, consciousness raising groups, sit-ins for Roe versus Wade, and even a short jail sentence for a peaceful demonstration for the Equal Rights Amendment. I imagined she would be shocked to know I also drove conscientious objectors across the Canadian border in protest of the Vietnam War,
Then I invited my curiosity to lead. I know at age 67 that I learn more when I let go of my assumptions and my history and connect more deeply with others and myself. Then I naturally enter a woman’s world of relating and caring. Instead of lecturing Malia about my passionate pursuit of equality, I instinctively reached out to hold her hand, a sign of intergenerational sisterhood and comfort.
Without taking her eyes of the boy posse in front of us, she asked,
“How many do you think will call their Mom’s in the middle of the night because they want to go home?”
“None,” I responded without thinking. “Boys don’t usually do that.” I sighed as I realized I just bumped up against my own stereotype.
Why not?” challenged Malia.
“Because even if they were scared or homesick, they probably would not admit it.”
“That’s what I am saying, Grandmom, it is a boy’s world. Maybe if they knew it was okay to talk about their feelings, our world might be different.”
I imagined we both remembered her first pajama party when she was seven. Like Noah, she had looked forward to her first sleepover for months. Like the first day of school, an all nighter was a rite of passage. Her best friend got scared and missed her parents. Before ten o’clock the party was over. It took three or four more unsuccessful dress rehearsal before a girlfriend slept over all night.
“Did you expect the party to be as rowdy and rough as this, Grandmom?”
I nodded over the noise.
“I kind of like to play with fifth grade boys, but second grade boys are just wild and all over the place. They don’t mind stepping on each other, getting dirty and smelly.”
I laughed as I admitted that most of the action was horizontal not vertical.
Then Malia’s friend, Laura, who is 11 years old, arrived on the back of a motorcycle with her Dad. Malia dropped my hand and rushed to hug her best friend. Moments later they returned to the front steps holding hands and giggling,
“Bye, Grandmom, we are going into my room to do “girlie stuff.”
I smiled and felt hopeful because she already knows the value of girlfriends and caring. And she has me to remind me that she will grow into her own voice and vision, and that she will learn about her power in relationship with other girls. Perhaps, in time, this world will become a people’s world in which relationships and creativity replace war and muscle.
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More Blogs by Rosalie D. Heart
Weaving Anger, Palm Sunday, and April Fool's Day - Monday, April 02, 2012
Anniversaries, Choices, and Perceptions - Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Kindness Multiplied - Wednesday, January 04, 2012
My Swimming Community - Monday, January 02, 2012
Soccer and Love - Wednesday, November 30, 2011
soccer As Moving Meditation - Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Angels and Awaken - Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Love - Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Equinox 2011 - Tuesday, October 04, 2011
September 11th - Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Completions and Giveaways - Tuesday, October 04, 2011