One emerged a skillful, confident woman; the other remained a helpless girl.
The question, friends, is–which one are you?
I come from a seemingly long line of independent women, women who did not always follow societal norms.
So those girls in college who gushed about who they wanted to marry when they graduated? Yeah, I didn’t quite get that. I had some things I wanted to accomplish first.
I write a lot about being raised to be an independent woman in this blog. But that doesn’t mean brittle. I love love. I love a man’s man who goes gaga over babies and dogs. I cannot help but smile when I see the couple holding hands over the table at the restaurant. A gent heading to a door with flowers, scrubbed clean and smelling great—well that’s hard to beat.
I welcome all of these things. I just do not chase them.
And that is not just semantics, folks. There’s a huge difference in those two sentences.
I imagine that someday I’ll have grandchildren, with the odds pretty good that at least one of those grandbabies will be a girl.
The world may treat women and relationships in a completely different way then. I sure hope so. But, in case not, I have a story in my back pocket I think I will whisper to her at the right age. Maybe in front of the fireplace on a cold evening, as she visits me and I spoil her.
A young girl walks down a path through a beautiful meadow. As she walks, her eyes scan the horizon ahead. She is searching for the soul who will take this journey with her. She searches for this good soul, this kind soul, this adventurous soul, as she passes by a gorgeous patch of wildflowers. And then an angry,buzzing hoard of bees.
She enters the dark forest, still looking ahead for him. She trips over rocks and tree branches. Nearly gets eaten by a mama bear, when she passes too close to baby bear. Wades through a raging river, missing the bridge to her left.
She emerges from the forest and walks through a small village but she hears not the gentle calls from the villagers, inviting her to dine with them. Her eyes continue to search ahead, becoming more frantic as time passes.
Finally, she comes to a fork in the road. And she hesitates, not knowing which way her beloved might have gone. She does not want to miss the opportunity to meet him, so instead of forging ahead, she sits. And waits.
Along comes Mr. Tall Dark & Handsome, finally. He is as fresh as she is bedraggled.
As they speak, she smiles and nods and is as pleasant as can be, but he is distracted.
He carries a handful of fresh wildflowers.
“Yes, they are,” he agrees. “I picked them from the side of the path in the meadow. I’m sure you saw them.”
She admits that she did not.
“Yes, I had to dodge an angry swarm of bees for them, but in the process I learned to fight for what I want,” he said.
“Oh,” she said, sounding pleased.
As he takes in her bruises and scrapes, he asks her what happened.
“I tripped walking through the forest,” she explained.
“Did you not look where you were going?” he asked.
“My eyes were ahead, on my future,” she said.
“Ah, but you missed your footing there,” he scolded. “And in the process, your present. I skirted the rocks and tree roots and in the process learned how to avoid and accept those things I cannot fight. This learning saved my life teaching me to give a wide berth to a mother bear and by so doing, live to tell the tale.”
“Oh,” she said, impressed.
“And you’re shivering, “he said. “Did you fall in the river?”
“Yes,” she admitted. “There was no bridge on the path.”
“Nonsense,” he exclaimed. “It was to your left. I detoured to cross it and in the process learned that while I cannot always control my path, I am capable of adjusting course to meet each new circumstance.”
“I see,” she said, wistful for his skills.
As he pulled out a flask of water, he saw the longing look in her eyes.
“Have you had water lately?” he asked.
“No, nor food,” she replied.
“But how can that be?” he asked. “I just feasted in the village at a community table. They welcome all strangers in this friendly place. In fact, I go forward on this path to meet a lass who feasted with me and for whom I already feel a great love. She forged ahead but I hope to catch up with her.”
At this, the girl looked downcast. Was this not her Prince Charming? The one whose skills would see them both down one fork of the road into their future together?
“What makes you love her so?” she asked sadly.
“She met and matched wits with all of the elements I did on this trip,” he said. “She did it alone and her skills match mine; in some cases, she surpasses me. She is a worthy partner on this journey. Imagine what we can do together, if we each accomplished so much on our own.”
And at that, the girl hung her head and cried, watching the young man trot happily to meet his future.
Do you see it, my dear sweet unborn grandchild? I’m sure you do, you smart girl. And though you roll your eyes at the very obvious lessons in this tale, I know no other way to tell it.
Instead of facing what life put in front of her, she missed each challenge, too busy chasing an imaginary future. One which she was now ill equipped to create.
And that is just a crying shame.
You see, my dear, welcoming life, with all of its blessings and pitfalls, imperfect as it is—why, that is what shapes and molds us.
Chasing after a dream in which you play only a supporting role? That is beneath you.
It will leave you crying and begging for mercy.
Versus forging down a path, curious as to what the next bend in the road will bring.
Which woman do you want to be?