This week, during a radio interview, the host read an exerpt from my book “Girls on Track.” I listened as he read it and was moved. The book hit bookstores about this time of year ”way back” in 2004. I picked it up to read, once again, the words that I wrote and I, with both humor and melancholy was reminded precisely of where I was at that time in my life, and now with both melancholy and joy find so much gratitude for where I am.
With all the recent talk about women in politics, professional life, homelife, parenting and otherwise, I thought I’d write my words again…here…both for you to ponder and for me to feel their power once again. I do admit that at times it can sound a bit preachy…so just smile when you get there, take what works and leave the rest.
Chloe is one of my best friends. She is nine years old. The last time I saw her, she ran up to me. “Look Molly, look!” She showed me the sparkles across her fingernails–the silver glitter of girlhood. She was proud of the adornment, thrilled by the simplicity of it.
I admired those ten fingers–everyone one of them. Each finger is different–each finger, a celebration of glitter, the result of a holiday manicure with her grandma.
I took her little hands in mind and I praised them–awestruck at what these two little hands would create in her lifetime.
I look at my own hands and the splendor there; the telltale signs of age in the raised veins, spots, and wrinkles.
These hands of mine have done much in their lifetime.
The little-girl hands that molded clay ashtrays at summer camp, which my father proudly displayed at his office. “My daughter, Molly, made this. Isn’t it beautiful?”
The girl-hands that delighted in holding a boy’s hand for the first time, hands that later that night pressed on his lower back as our young bodies slow-danced; the tender touch; the tender moment; this tender memory.
The hands of a young woman exploring her sexuality and the discovery there, the pleasure the sensation, the wonder of it all. The same hands that ignited the passion in another, that first touch, that first innocent expression of first love. The power of it. So frightening and wonderful, at the same time.
The wife-hands that comforted a depressed and weeping hubsand, that held his shaking body, brushed back the stray strands of hair from his face, the hands which touched him more deeply than the mere body they embraced.
The mother-hands that held my babies while they nursed, changed diapers at three in the morning, gently washed baby skin, and touched their tiny toes and delicate fingers; hands that played this little piggy, untangled hair, and blew kisses as they marched off to their first days of kindergarten.
The healing hands that placed Band-Aids on skinned knees and provided magical powers on hurt places.
The weathered hands that wash dishes, mend clothes, do yard work, clean house, and fold laundry.
The loving hands that reach out to my children in those peaceful moments when we interlock our fingers and sit in the still of the moment.
The hands of despair that lift to the sky, gesturing hopelessness, rage and fury.
The hands of hope that come back down again–with peace and understanding.
Womens’ hands have much to offer. Our hands gently and lovingly sew the tapestry of our lives, each delicate stitch of which carefully holds together the lives of so many others.
Our world is crying out, at times with despair, fury and hopelessness. But I believe that we can change all that. Although women don’t yet balance out the positions we typically call powerful–I am certain that we can influence the world order, because we are powerful. We know the world through what our hands feel, embrace, and love. We build our lives on relationships, take time to touch our children, hug our neighbors and reach out to others. We are in the “global trenches”–the frontline–working one-on-one with one another and with children. We hold our crying babies, relate to their fears, and constantly reassure in spite of the chaos around us.
We can, with strength and tender appreciation, take the hands of our lovers, our sons, and our fathers and walk them gently into our world. Show them the wonder of motherhood, the universal and immediate connection we feel with our sisters whether we live in the United States, Iraq, Syria or any other part of the world. We can, each and together, take the hands of our husbands and sons and and softly place them on the first kicks of our growing babies and marvel at the life there.
We can walk them through the halls of our lives, through the countless hours we spend nurturing little broken hearts and hurt feelings; gently take their hands in ours and coach them in the artistry of molding anger into growth and revenge into forgiveness.
It is time for mothers to do something–to speak up–to say enough is enough.
It’s time to lay bare Woman’s view of the world, time to finally release from our womb this long-overdue child, to cut the umbilicus and let her learn to breathe on her own–alone and unsure at first, but with growing strength and assurance. With the gentle hands of love and caring, like the hands of a skilled midwife, we need to lift our world and our vision from the womb of our knowing and our experience and transition her into this new world–a world we can create, a world we can heal, a world that exists yet not been manifest.
We are that powerful.
To hold the hands of our lovers, our fathers, our sons, drink coffee with them and talk into the black of night. To trace lines of love on veins of age while we talk about things that really matter-like children, compassion, life, peace, and love. We can run for office, lead a corporation, wear the suit and sitll hold onto our mother-self, tender viewpoints and feminine perspective. We can be mothers, teachers, social workers and nurses and still be assertive.
We can, with just the slightest shift in vision,realize the power that resides in us, as both individuals and as a unified group, and use it.
I believe we are on the verge of a global transformation–a complete shift in the world order as we know it. We are on the brink of a species-level evolution. There is a claiming of space–where the world of the mother, the girl, the woman is coming to the fore, bringing balance, perspective and healing. We may still possess magical healing powers for skinned knees and give great butterfly kisses, but we are also passionate, wise and very powerful. While I don’t know the exact course this transformation will take, there is one thing of which I am absolutely certain.
Our children will be safe, nourished, and loved…when mothers rule the world.