Marching Together

For me, this wasn’t at all about a man.

It was a text I received from a friend, inspiring me to take part.  It was the friend of that friend who drove me there and another who gave me a sign.  It was her five year-old daughter, skipping along our route, collecting flowers and feathers.

It was my college roommates in New York and DC who walked with parents, aunts, husbands, and children.  It was coworkers displaying signs proudly in Denver, San Francisco and Chicago.  It was women in my hometown marching with confidence across the city of Cleveland.  It was encouraging messages from those who were there in spirit, expressing love and support.

I watched strangers make room for one another in crowded parks and streets.  Young girls helping older women climb over curbs and steps.  The stately retiree in cashmere beside the lip-pierced student in neon beside the thirtysomething mom in ponytail and fleece, pushing a stroller or wagon.

In its usual way, history will paint the Women’s March as being all about a man.  But at least for me, its meaning was so much more significant.  It was about millions of women uniting in their shared experiences as mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and citizens, empowering one another to see and be seen, to hear and be heard.

2016: A Year In Review

Chip and JoJo 1

I should have known this year was going to be a doozy when I found myself on a bus on my birthday, just off the Las Vegas strip, being serenaded by an Elvis impersonator. 2016 sort of continued from there with its endless stream of bizarre and disconcerting events. Brexit. HB2. The shock and depression of our presidential election. Riots in Uptown.  Prince and David Bowie. Brangelina. Mayo losing yet another All-Ireland Final. The Indians losing the World Series. The list goes on.

Thankfully, there are positive memories to look back on as well. The Cubs winning the World Series, for one.  The Cavs winning the NBA championship. My dad beating cancer. Walking our son in on his first day of school. Making the biggest jump of any employer on Fortune’s list of Top 100 Companies to Work For. Mastering my gym selfie.  Celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary.  And who can forget my first trip to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo?  That was straight up bucket list action.

But something else happened that I would be remiss to ignore. I found out I was pregnant for the second time on a Thursday morning in January.  Shortly thereafter, I received confirmation that this was no longer the case.  Our miscarriage happened early, and it threw our entire year off course. While we won’t ever really know, we’re convinced she was a girl.  We would have named her Kate. She would have been born by now, and we miss her desperately without ever meeting her.

It was more of a non-event, really, but in a Christmas season now with much of the world waiting for a child to be born, it seems as though I still haven’t stopped waiting for my child.

Suffice it to say that 2016 has been rough. Maybe it’s not for us to know why things happen as they do, but it’s high time I wrote something about this particular thing. A thing that so many women experience, though you may not realize it because no one talks much about it.  I suppose there isn’t really much to say.  At times, you can almost convince yourself it didn’t even happen — but then there is the longing that never fully goes away, the lack of confidence in what you are capable of.

So today, I acknowledge what happened, and I hope that, in giving it its terrible moment in the universe, we can close out this mess of a year and move on.

This Wine Is For My Indigo Girls

Back in the day, we rocked a playlist on Napster like you wouldn’t believe.  We binged on Sex and the City and MTV’s Dismissed before binge-watching was even a thing.  We wallpapered our living room with inside jokes.  We had a breakfast place.  When someone was leaving town, every single one of us rode to the airport to see her off, and we all picked her up when she came back home.  We sometimes did this dressed as giant M&Ms.  It didn’t make sense to anyone else — it didn’t always make sense even to us — but then again, it didn’t have to.

The beautiful thing about these friendships is that part of us will always be frozen in time, back in that dorm room, listening to Indigo Girls, clad in overalls.  Part of us will always be walking back from campus, making big plans, pausing at the library to watch the sun set against an indigo sky.  These friendships are rooted in that special age where you open your eyes to the world for the very first time, and as far as the future is concerned, anything seems possible.

Having said that, we cannot deny the passage of time.  In the almost fifteen years since our last library walk, even I have to acknowledge that things somehow, inexplicably, continue to happen.  They happen on a daily basis and miles away.  Still, throughout the years, these are the only people who can adequately advise, who can effectively comfort, who can see clearly.  They celebrate and they cradle. They hold a harsh light up to life, and they remind me of who I am when I have all but forgotten.

And when things happen to them, I feel it deeply, as deeply as if it had happened to me — because in a very fundamental way, it has.

I may not know my roommates’ comings and goings anymore.  I may not know what they had for breakfast or what show they’re currently binge-watching, what they’re doing next Saturday night or even where exactly they work these days.

But if anything happens to them, I will go to wherever they are, I will take whatever it is, and I will put that thing on me.  I will stare into that indigo sky with them and I will fight it fiercely.