I realize it's Friday and, historically speaking, I should be doing a Fabulous Five post, but I've had a thought rolling around in my quiet brain for a few weeks and I didn't even realize it until today. It's remained an unconscious thought until this morning when it suddenly forced it's way through to the forefront of my mind and conjured itself into a blog essay before my eyes. (well, my mind's eye)
(To preface my thoughts I'll say that I've never really considered myself much of a feminist, but I do believe that women are absolutely capable of doing anything they decide to. This post is not intended as an argument for the role of a woman, it is simply my thoughts on my own role as a woman. I'll just leave it at that.)
One morning, a few months ago, I stood next to Dustin in front of the mirror in the bathroom. I think we were both brushing our teeth. My thoughts for the previous several days had dwelt on men and women, their roles, their differences. You see, I had just read a book that was set in a different time when men had to be warriors. A time when they had to protect and defend their wives, families and country. Dustin and I were both bare shouldered because it was morning and we weren't dressed yet. As we were standing next to each other in front of the mirror, I couldn't help but observe the differences between he and I, a man and a woman. His shoulders are broad, well-muscled and strong. While I am a fairly strong woman, I relished the study of his shoulder versus mine. I looked so small next to him. So delicate. So... feminine.
As I marveled at these differences, I made him turn sideways next to me and I said to him, "Look at that! Look how small my shoulder is compared to yours. I bet you could fit three of my little shoulders into one of yours!" He laughed, his mouth full of toothpaste, but didn't say anything.
Did this difference bother me? No! Did I wish for his shoulders, his musculature, in myself? Of course not! To wish such a thing would, in my opinion, be a physical obscurity. I like my small frame and the role that it plays in my life. His broad shoulders could be a warrior's shoulders, if the need arose. They could defend his wife and his children. These thoughts stirred up feelings of security and safety in my heart.
I have mentioned on this blog that a friend of ours recently passed away, leaving behind a wife and two small children. As we went to the viewing and hugged each of his family members who attended his body, his newly-widowed wife hugged me fiercely and, through her sobs, conveyed to me that this just isn't fair! She didn't want this. This wasn't supposed to happen. They were supposed to grow old together! She isn't supposed to be a widow at 28 years old! Her feelings of confusion, anger, heartache and sorrow washed over me. All I could do was sob and tell her I'm sorry.
I'm sure anyone in my situation would've done just as I did, hug her back and cry with her, but as I did, I couldn't stop the images of myself, just three years older than she, mourning the loss of my own husband. What would that be like? I pray I will never know.
The weeks have passed since that day but the memory of it has not left me, nor have the feelings and questions evoked by the event. As time moves on and these thoughts hover just outside my awareness, I have been filled with gratitude for the roles we play, gratitude for my husband and his willingness to provide for his family, his willingness to love and cherish me, his willingness to be a man. Not only willingness, but fervor. Ferocity. Total dedication and devotion. I know that as long as he is here on earth, by my side, I will never have to worry about our bills being paid. He is our provider and my husband and he feels validated by these roles.
If tragedy were to strike my family, I know I could take care of myself and that I could provide for my family if the need arose. I've always known that and I have confidence in myself and my capabilities. That being said, the events of the last few weeks made me realize that I cherish being taken care of. It is a privilege and a blessing. I treasure that my husband's main desire is to provide for his wife and his children. I honor the fact that he is a man who wants to be the breadwinner. I relish my role of being a feminine woman who knows she can take care of herself, but allows her husband the honor of doing it for her.
And, for me in my life, knowing my capabilities and allowing myself to be dependent on my husband despite what I can do is my definition of being a woman.