It’s February 23, Oscar night on TV and I’m sitting here, listening to music and thinking about beautiful women. The multi-talented August McLaughlin is hosting her annual blogfest “Beauty of a Woman”. You can see all the amazing entries here . August is a beautiful woman in more ways than I can list. Just know that following her blog will be well worth your time.
Her blogfest always makes me think about feminine beauty. What is it? Who has it? As a long time therapist and coach, I know about internal beauty as opposed to external. The latter can also be more of a problem than a benefit for many woman.
I thought about two of my granddaughters. They’re 7 and a half and almost 5 and just a delight. It is exciting to watch them find their femininity and personalities. It’s so much fun to watch them and since I’m not responsible for raising them, I can appreciate their journey. My 10 year old granddaughter is on the cusp of being a teenager. How did that happen? No longer a girl, not quite a teen, she is a beautiful person, inside and out.
I could write about the mother of the younger two, my amazing daughter, another beautiful woman in her own right. Or my daughter-in-law, , another beautiful women I’m thrilled to have in my family. But…nothing felt quite right.
I’ve been also been spending some time with my mom, who is in an assisted living facility as her Alzheimer’s progresses. She’s been going through some interesting changes. One the one hand, she’s incredibly grateful for everything we do for her. Weeping with gratitude at times. In the nature of Alzheimer’s, she’s been confined to her room a couple of times for aggression to other residents. What an interesting dichotomy to observe.
But she’s not who I want to write about either.
I realized as I was mulling things over that I treasure women, in all their forms and guises. I am blessed with rich friendships with women, some of whom I’ve known more than 30 years. There are some new women in my life as well. I am surrounded by beautiful women. I am blessed.
But every time I go to see my mom, there’s one woman who catches my eye. Her long gray hair is always messy and unkempt. Her wrinkles are deep and her lips are collapsed, since she won’t wear her false teeth. She is always dressed in baggy trousers and a loose, long pullover top. I know these are clothes selected because they’re easy to put on, especially for women who are having memory problems. She walks in an aimless circle around the facility talking to herself in a language only she can understand. Clearly she has lost the ability to communicate as well. It’s sad to see. And painful because hers is the trajectory of Alzheimer’s Disease and my mom will walk a similar path.
But none of that matters. I can contrast her to the beauty and the clothes on the red carpet of the Oscars, but who cares? She’s in a world of her own and existing there for however much time she has left.
Why does she come to mind as I write this post? In my opinion, one of the most important things about women is our ability to have babies. I think it gives us a different view of life and a different set of values, whether we’ve had children or not. This incredible ability makes us special and unique and so different from the men in our world.
And this woman?
I have never seen her without her doll or stuffie in her arm. Always her left arm, always held against her chest. Always and everywhere. At meals. Walking the halls. Rocking to the music on the radio or listening to Christmas carols with the children’s choir who have come to perform.
It doesn’t matter that the ‘baby’ is always upside down. It doesn’t matter that the woman seems to ignore it most of the time. What matters is that in spite of all the changes that have happened in her brain, that drive to care for her baby is still present and strong. She doesn’t know quite what to do with the doll but she knows she has to keep it with her and always against her heart.
Her connection to this part of her femininity reminds me that the desire to nurture remains at our cores. Tall or short. Fat or thin. Young or old. Women take care of each other and those put in our care. To the best of our ability. It’s not always enough, but it’s always the best we have.
I don’t know her name or anything about her. But to this beautiful woman, I say thank you for reminding me about the importance and richness of being a woman. We are given the opportunity to give life, protect and nurture that life and to celebrate each other’s choices around that opportunity.
That my friends, is amazing. And for me, it is all about the beauty of a woman.
I hope you agree and celebrate your femininity on this special day.
For more celebrations, please check out other posts on this topic on August’s blog here. By the way, there’s some great prizes if you post comments on the link. Good luck