Last night as I was prodding Isabel to go to bed I said, “C’mon, let’s get to sleep. Tomorrow is the most important day of my adult life and I want to be rested.” She gave me a look that only a tweenager could and said, doubtfully, “More important than the day you and dad got married?”
It took me a moment to process what she had said. Then I realized, this would not be unexpected coming from a child who has ingested a steady supply of princess stories her entire life, where in fact the most important moment of those princesses’ lives does come when they get married. There aren’t any Disney movies that end with the heroine becoming the president of the United States.
She (as far as I know) has never been #grabbedbythepussy, as I was, while riding my horse on my own farm, at the same age she is now – 12 – while the man’s young daughter played nearby.
She doesn’t know that I had an abortion at age 18, something that would have been illegal just a couple decades before, and that is at risk of being made illegal again. She doesn’t realize how many women in her life have also had abortions.
She doesn’t know that my mother that was once denied the ability to rent a truck because she was a woman. And that she had to get her ex-husband, my father, to come and rent it for her. In the 1970s.
She doesn’t know the story of the time my mother crashed a local “farmer’s dinner” that only men were invited to. When she showed up, she said, “Well, aren’t I a farmer?”
She doesn’t know the story about my grandmother who was refused by her own father to invest in their family company because she was a woman.
She doesn’t know about the recent interaction that I had with her father, my dear husband, who told me to “go be a girl”, indicating that I should feign confusion as to why I did not know the answer to something. Or about the time early in our relationship when he told me I would not be able to fix something mechanical, you know, because I was a “girl.”
I fear for my daughter as she matures into a young woman, knowing that she will be plagued with the same street harassment that I was, that she could be sexually abused by some unknown boy in the future, that she might care more about her looks than her intelligence as she grows older, and that somewhere along the way she will be treated less then, humiliated, or made to feel in some way that she does not have 100% equal power in her life because she is a woman. This is a real, and likely, possibility.
When I was a young girl, I said that when I grew up I wanted to be the first woman president of the United States. Obviously, I’m not. But I am proud to be standing with #HillaryClinton, a woman has dedicated her entire life to standing up for what I believe in.
So last night I explained some of this to Isabel and said, “There is nothing more important than to be able to be what you want to be, fully expressed, just because you said so. Regardless of your sex, your race, your gender, your sexual preference, your creed, religion, or any other way that you define yourself.”
Yes, this is the most important day of my adult life. #imwithher