"You have the same smile." Words I have heard often, and repetitively through the years. Yes, I'd say we do. As well as my grandmother and my daughter. It's the secrets hidden behind those smiles that really makes the bonds of family connections. The struggles and the strength. Wishes for change, admiration and wonder of each step forward. The pains taking backwards steps as well.
Changes occur constantly ups and downs. It isn't anything new, but how you champion those changes is the question. Do you stand tall and firm, a towering structure, heels dug in awaiting the storm. Do you bend and flow, just a bystander waiting for the winds to become more favorable again. Or, do you link arms and move as one supporting each other for your desired change?
Maybe you are indifferent to it all since you have seen this upheaval time and again. So much so that you have become resilient with each sacrifice. It's just what life has been and will always be.
My grandmother was not an activist. She was a child of the depression, a mother of 4 children, a wife of a Veteran of World War II. She was exactly what she was expected to be. Strong, without doubt, courageous, of course and poised throughout many turbulent times. But, was she happy? She would tell you of course she was, subtly strewn in-between stories and tales of her life. Though it seemed abundantly obvious she was not. Even so, she stood tall, firm, and unwavering in the strength of courage she gave. Which would afford us the opportunities to a life she had wished she'd had that never came to pass.
Seeing the opportunities women having now, in spite of recent setbacks. She told me of how impressed she was with how far women have come. For she was born in a time where women had roles to be played out and rarely deviated from.
Her blue eyes sparkled and glimmered with the excitement of what could have been if her youth was granted at this later date. Hope for her daughters and her grandchildren even though my mother, her eldest daughter always held regrets of what she could have been. Admittedly much more progressive still unable to have made her life what she had wanted. She dared to wear pants and speak her mind. Set off to work and support herself only to become disillusioned due to the unfair pay scales and lack of substantial positions and careers afforded to a woman. She settled, a wife a mother with two children of her own. Still standing tall and firm with many steps forward, she passed that wish on to her daughter and grandchildren.
Now as it is my turn to be the ancestral change that we have all sought after. I had dreams some attainable, some just out of reach, for now anyway. But, I could clearly see what could be. The doors were opening and opportunities were more abundant. But as a young mother I succumbed to the hardships of childcare with a limited income and higher education financial out of reach. I too settled, with a husband and 5 children. The house, minivan, hours of homework and notes of encouragement in school lunches. I am a mother, a wife a daughter and granddaughter with much the same life as my family I share the same smile with.
I look at my life in a way to celebrate the changes and forward momentum of women. I see my daughters standing so tall and firm, strong and courageous. Unwilling to bend and flow with such purpose. Not only heels dug in but arms linked in a sisterhood. Change that is not only in sight, but a movement that has no chance to be questioned or altered. It is absolute.
So when you see a familiar smile. It is on the faces of all women. It is all our hopes and dreams that have been carried throughout lifetimes that are being reflected in their faces. Arms linked in a fluent forward motion together. It is us, it is all of us, it is unstoppable.
About the author
"Everyone is different and that is what makes everyone special." However, change through curiosity is the true mark of character. Let's explore all that is to be uncovered. Join me to look at life through as many lenses as possible.