(It is my special privilege to write something for my lovely wife, Linda, and her partner in this effort, Lisa, for this ambitious and important blog.)
So…how can my perspective contribute to this discussion. I am not a woman, so what the heck do I know? As much as I can sympathize or empathize, I can never completely understand what it is to “walk in those shoes.” (Yeah, especially those tall ones!). But with so much going on out there with “#me too” and “#times up”, I hope my observations and experience can contribute to the discussion in a positive way. I do come from a space where I at least have had substantial exposure to a woman’s point of view. To be specific, in my household, there is my wife, Linda, and my two lovely daughters. So, as I frequently like to say, I am surrounded by beautiful women…and I mean beautiful in a much deeper sense than the obvious physical beauty all three have…beauty that runs way more than skin deep. And when I say that because I am the only male, that makes me “King” to which they all roll their eyes and quietly chuckle.
I must say, the value system and many of the lessons in life I have learned along the way are strongly influenced by my wife, a rare and special gem of a woman…quiet, strong, compassionate, spiritual, lively, inquisitive, dynamic, energetic, and sexy. I can go on but I think you get the picture. As the man of the house and the main breadwinner, there have been times where the demands of my work, not only in time, but also in required focus and sometimes overseas travel, have left me either physically unavailable or sometimes just emotionally or intellectually unavailable due to the pressure and demands of the workplace. Linda has been nothing but an awesome partner and parent in that regard and the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual rock that this family was based on and the foundation on which it grew. When we first met, we were each going through our respective divorces… a trying and difficult time even when the separation is amicable. In the beginning, we were just having fun and providing a bit of emotional support for each other through this ordeal. As time went on, one of the things that won me over in this journey was when I first witnessed her parenting skills with our oldest daughter who was only 4 when we met. It soon became abundantly obvious to me…THIS is the woman I want to be the mother of my children!!
Along the way, Linda has been the pillar and roll model for our two daughters. She doesn’t just talk a good game…she walks the walk!! As a team, Linda and I dedicated ourselves to facilitating the success of our daughters and we have done our best to teach them, support them, and encourage them to be STRONG, INDEPENDENT women. It began with reading to them every night. I loved reading and riffing on Dr. Seuss when they were little. It was funny and gratifying how each of them responded to my adlibbing with these nightly stories. One would pretty much memorize the story line first time through and when I deviated from the text she’d chime in “That’s not in the stoooory!” The other relished the improvisation and we even evolved our own little variation of Lewis Carroll’s storyline (Alice in Wonderland), becoming Renee in Undergrass, replete with peppermint pink whales swimming in our koi pond. We were heavily invested in their education, we sat with them and did homework, we took them on trips, and we played music (of all kinds) in the house ALWAYS. We went to museums and introduced them to artists from Edward Hopper to Edward Weston, we taught them to cook OR to enjoy fine dining or the beauty of an exquisite glass of wine… and especially we taught them the joy of simply hanging out with family and friends. I am proud to say, my girls have grown into amazing young women! One doing PR and marketing and the other pursuing her dreams in the fashion industry. Both accomplished and smart as all get out!! I celebrate my wife’s parenting skills and my daughters’ accomplishments!! My daughters are both, kind, intelligent, thoughtful human beings with a strong moral compass who will be Linda and my legacy. We couldn’t be prouder. Without being too materialistic and with a level of tongue in cheek, we like to say we raised our daughters to be very expensive dates!
So, although I cannot exactly walk in their shoes, I have learned along the way to rejoice and celebrate the unique and wonderful women I have in my life and all they have contributed to making me a better person by seeing some of the world through their eyes. Never mind all the joy and love they have brought to my heart along the way.
So, this has been a little window into my experience as I walk through life surrounded by women. And here’s my recommendation to other men….enjoy, celebrate, nurture, respect, treasure, value, elevate, embrace, empower the women in your life and all the women you encounter in your daily experience as special and important human beings. Let’s be sure about this, we can’t live without them and they all contribute to making the world a better place!
By Norm S (husband & father)