A Country of Women

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”
– Virginia Woolf

When my daughter was a little girl I would let my fingernails run softly through her hair and gently scratch her scalp until she would fall asleep each night.  If she was upset about something or someone as a teenager and needed calming down, I would do the same.  In one of my past blog entries, Oh Hands Of Mine, I mention how very important human touch can be.  Though for my daughter, not only was her mother’s touch important, but having a strong woman near her showing affection and strength was equally important in her development.  I’ve come to realize, especially in that last year or so, just how very important the women in my life have been to me.

Although my mother has always been a strong force in my life and important to me, I never really considered the role the other women in my life have played.  They were my girlfriends, yes, but to what extent they would be there for me in a time of need I wouldn’t venture to guess.  I have had many male friends too, although they have been shadowed by the sheer largeness of my personal world of women.

Some of them I see on a yearly basis, some monthly and even some a few times a week.  I’ve girlfriends that live in Italy, Spain, New York, Baltimore, Portland and all over the Seattle/Tacoma area.  They are artist, nurses, yoga teachers, photographers, office managers, librarians, mothers and fashionistas to name a few.  Each of these women in some form or another have risen to the challenge of showing me just how strong they are – how fortunate I am – to have each and every one of them.

A few years ago I read this great book written by Rita Golden Gelman titled, Tales of A Female Nomad.  There was a part in the book in which she describes the feeling of closeness she found when she would visit different cultures and cook with the women.  How it would bring her close to women around the world.  I am no nomad and I may not be literally in my kitchen with my girlfriends, but the feeling of learning and sharing worlds surrounds me nonetheless.  They are not there to merely help me decide on a New Years Eve dress….they are there to encourage and support my entire being, my choices, my depth.   And I them….

Yesterday I sat in the doctor’s office in a chair next to my daughter, now twenty-one, who was laying on the table beside me, baring her belly for the ultrasound technician.  I reached up and stroked her hair, gently scratching her scalp like I’ve done her entire life, while tears came to her eyes and mine as we watched her little baby girl – my granddaughter – swim in the sea of her mother’s growing belly; blissfully unaware she was being watched at all.  Yet another woman is being added to the long line of my family and I hope her country…..is the world.

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