Several years ago, two of my sons and my partner all went to spend the evening with my ex-husband’s family and friends. The kids’ father had put together a seventy-fifth birthday party for his mother. As a rule, family gatherings are often a grand mix of experience. Add into that mix, a divorce and you can have a real goulash of emotions. We are no different.
After my divorce, I experienced an amazing exit of all my friends from my life. They tended to side with my husband and the sadness that he went through and that I had apparently inflicted on him. It is a relative thing, as we were both responsible for the end of our marriage, but he certainly looked and acted the part of the jilted husband.
Going to any gathering over the last ten years that included any of the people who I had associated with while married, was painful and discouraging. Naturally, I had begun to avoid them completely. This particular event wasn’t something that I felt I could avoid, as my mother-in-law had been, and continues to be, someone I respect and love. Going to her celebration was important, so we went.
Initially, I felt like, “where is the exit” as I looked around the room at the various people I had never wanted to encounter again. Initially, my partner and I regretted having come, but we are both well schooled in being appropriate in public and stayed put. Our children were having a wonderful time playing foosball and giggling, so we jumped right in. I was thrilled to see my nephew, by marriage, happily smiling as he walked over to give me a hug. Also, my previous best friend (who is now closer to my ex) and her daughter were there. I was thrilled to see her daughter as we lived in the same house for much of her childhood, and she has grown into a beautiful young woman.
Things progressed smoothly as we all sat down to our meal. The conversation was lively and we were sandwiched in with the young adults, as we are the attendant adults in their lives. The conversation was all about surfing, music and playing hacky-sack so mostly it was delightful. Also, I had pangs of sadness here and there, and even declared to my partner that I was going to confront one especially awful villainous ex-friend. Fortunately, my daily prayers flashed into my mind; “letting things unfold naturally.” I refrained from any confrontation and happily ended my evening without so much as a fully formed negative thought, let alone an entire tirade.
The magic happened for me after our meal was consumed. Both my twenty year old son, and his cousin had been asked to perform some music for their grandmother. My son is a self taught guitarist and singer, his cousin a tremendously accomplished classical guitarist. As their grandmother beamed, her daughter’s son played two amazing classical guitar pieces which transported all of us to a distant time, when music was composed for kings and queens.
Then my son (her son’s child) played a standard jazz song, originally sung by Frank Sinatra and loaded with sentimental beauty and a testament to love and presence in relationship. He then played one of his own compositions which clearly illustrated his understanding of his place in the world.
I was taken with the sense of the legacy we leave when we have children and raise them with commitment. The two young men performing for their grandmother were products of her children’s love. They would leave their own imprints on the world at large, and none of that would be if it hadn’t been for their grandmother’s life.
On and on we go, with women giving birth consistently. We have no mind for the finality of life, we just give birth to our children and love them into maturity. As women are responsible for the care and feeding of the offspring, we are intricately involved with the furthering of the species. Our contribution is powerful and is in the forefront of my mind as I work with women. I continue to ask the question, “What would it take to OWN our power, what more do we need to confirm that we are remarkable?”
Consider your contributions; reflect on what you have brought to the world with your life. Whether you are a mother or not, you have contributed something that will leave a mark. It doesn’t matter so much that you are female, as everyone has the potential to add something of worth to the world. Rather, keep in mind that because you are female you are hardwired to contribute to the world in sustainable ways.
Living into that potential is your work.