Learning to walk the tightrope of motherhood...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Strong Women

So, for those of you who don't know us well, in the past few years Greg and I have become big fans of JMU's women's basketball team. It all started the first year I was living here in Harrisonburg and we were trying to "get involved" in the community and the university.
Since then, we've become slightly obsessed. Like, we joined the Crown Club, watch away games via the internet, and, of the 2 personal days I get from work this year, 1 will be used to go to the CAA women's basketball tournament in Maryland. If it's not obsession, it is, at least, commitment.
I like the basketball games for a lot of reasons. It's a competition and a team to cheer. It's something to look forward to on winter evenings. It's a family friendly atmosphere at the games. It's a super deal (less than $100 for two adults for the year!).
And, it's a super message being sent to my daughter.
Watching women's basketball presents an in-your-face juxtaposition of what being a woman means.
It's watching women in jerseys and tennis shoes race up and down the court for 40 minutes. During this time they run plays as a team and shoot foul shots all on their own. They scramble for rebounds and get the ball stolen out of their hands. They fly through the air gracefully and get pushed to the ground, catch some lucky breaks on foul-calls and get busted on others, make miracle 3-point shots at the buzzer and miss gimme layups. These are strong women, beautiful women, successful women, and yet their style of femininity flies in the face of everything girls are taught about being "lady-like" while they are growing up.
However, when the buzzer sounds to signal a time-out, a totally different picture of femininity takes the court. As basketball players catch their breath and strategize the next play, cheerleaders take center court, jumping, flipping, and cheering their peers on toward victory. These women are as strong and agile as their ball-shooting counterparts: lifting each other up in the air, doing backflips from a dead stop in the middle of the floor, bending and stretching their legs into all sorts of shapes. Wearing make-up and ribbons in their hair, though, they present a much more typical picture of womanhood.
What I want Meredith, and lots of little girls and boys, to know is that both represent an awesome way to be a woman--as do the many gradations of femininity between these two seemingly extreme positions. And, I want her to know that these two positions are not as far away from each other as they may seem. Both groups of women are healthy and active, involved in their community, well-educated, hard-working, and striving to be the best they can be as individuals and as a team. If that's not a positive message, I don't know what is!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Like squishing a bug...

Maturity rears its ugly head again today...and it's like the day you finally squish the bug yourself.
I remember receiving a call one summer evening when I was on vacation and my sister was staying at my apartment. She had barricaded herself in my bedroom and was calling to find out what to do next...a superbug of sort, maybe a flying cockroach, had made its way into the apartment and made my poor sister its next target. Sadly, from 2,000 miles away, there was not much anyone could do to help her except offer suggestions. It took a while, but being the brave, capable, independent young woman she is, she eventually solved the problem and was able to take full ownership of the apartment again. (For those wondering, I believe the solution involved an arsenol of household aerosol products--not exactly eco-friendly, but efficient.)
Maturation is really just a series of events, like squishing bugs, that you are initially accustomed to passing off to someone else (your parents, a college roommate, your significant other) but that you eventually take responsibility for yourself. Laundry, dishes, and changing the toilet-paper roll are all little milestones on this list as well.
Sick babies present opportunities for personal growth as well. At least, that's how I'm choosing to look at the situations that Little Mate Mer's tummy troubles presented today.
Fingers crossed that there won't be any other such opportunities tonight and I can revert back to a younger, less responsible version of myself in the morning!