Dear Alice: A Letter To My Daughter This Women’s History Month
The history of women is being recorded with each passing day. As today becomes tomorrow, the books are written; the memories cast. It takes courage, boldness, and grit to face each day— not as time to be spent, but rather as time to be leaned into and lived.
There are women we remember who lived this way. Women who rose to the challenges of a time, a trial; women who faced the day by leaning into it, not hiding from it.
You see, my dear, today is a brave new day because each of their days was, too. Each woman rising to face the ordinary day— this, as much as the stories in the history books, is history worth knowing.
In modernity we are obsessed with the notion that our struggles are unique. That our battles between self and family, aspiration and responsibility— that these are new. Don’t be fooled by this falsehood. These are trials as old as the hills. Don’t be afraid of the history that makes you; lean in and learn hard their stories.
There is as much to gain from their lives as from the great names of history.
Your great-grandmother, Anna Jean, was a spitfire with a southern accent. She was loyal to her family and her Lord. She stood in the gap when her country needed it from her; she rose to the occasion when her family required it of her. And she steered the ship of 6905 Waterfront Drive, not from the masthead, but by a gentle but firm hand on the ship’s wheel. Hers is a history worth knowing.
Women’s history shouldn’t feel hard or harsh; it is gentle. But, don’t confuse gentle for soft, forgettable or passive. No, it is a history of great courage and great response. On the other side of living in it, it is a story of pain and growth, patience and persistence.
In your precious life you’ll hear many histories told of women who changed the world, who fought for equality and justice, and who continue to break down barriers— these are histories well worth knowing. But the greatest history I have to share comes from our own sweet, gentle, courageous tribe.
May my mouth never tire of retelling their stories. May my heart never fail to recognize their worth. May we never stop looking back at their legacies as we walk forward into this brave new world.
For all the history you will live to share, I rejoice.