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Cautionary Tale About Santa Gifts

Friends, I have a cautionary tale about Santa gifts to share with you today. You may see this title and think, oh good, a gift guide to help me think of gifts for my hard to buy for kids. Alas friends, I do not have such a thing. Instead, I come with a piece of advice. 

This morning I was talking to my editor and friend. We were discussing upcoming content and what types of information might be helpful to our readers right now. Recently, we have been posting a lot about boundaries, self-care, permission to rest, and slowing down during the holidays. Today, we are going to veer off course a little and talk about the big man in the red suit. 

Father Christmas. The man who brings joy and happiness to kids all around the world. Or does he? 

My friend is a former educator who spent almost 20 years in a 3rd-grade classroom and she shared something with me that I hadn’t really thought of before. When the tinsel is cleared out and the last glittery pile is vacuumed, kids are usually asked one seemingly important question. “What did Santa bring you?” 

For some, it is the latest gadget, designer clothes, or high-priced toys. Others, it is a box of new crayons and perhaps some sugary treats. Perhaps, it is nothing. 

My friend spoke of how hard this situation can be for a young kiddo. Why did Santa bring my friend an X-Box and I got some Play-Dough? 

So her words of caution are this. Let your Santa gifts be simple and if you are buying bigger ticket items, let them be from you. 

Let your kid believe in the magic of Santa, spoil them if you want, but remember that not all children share that same privilege and it matters. It matters to our underprivileged children who deserve to believe that this magical, mythical man in the red suit treats all children fairly, no matter what their socioeconomic status. 

Moreover, if your kids are older I encourage you to engage in this conversation with them. Talk about privilege and empathy. Most importantly, listen to their questions and seize the moment to have dialogue. Consequently, you might feel moved to do a service project to lift others as part of your holiday season. In our home we remember that gifts don’t always come in boxes with pretty bows, they are also things like the gift of time, the gift of listening, the gift of service, the gift of presence, and the gift of gratitude.

May your holidays be extra special this year and your impact on those around you, tremendous. But please, remember my little cautionary tale about Santa gifts as you celebrate.

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In The Blink of An Eye


In the blink of an eye.

A tiny steel ball that is just half an inch in diameter.

A five-year-old. A moment.

That was all it took for a nearly fatal disaster to occur.

In the blink of an eye, things can change. 

I strongly believe that this tiny steel ball was meant to be a wake up call.

The memory of the event haunts me even now, weeks later.

Gasping, choking, screaming, crying.

Sticking his fingers down his throat.

Most importantly, his tiny body instinctively knows to try to expel the foreign object.

I hear the commotion, but I am entrenched in a school-girl conversation with my daughter. Someone on the playground has stolen an imaginary egg and “it’s not fair.” All at once, my son bursts through the door and says, “We need your help.”

Consequently, this is the moment I grasp the gravity of that tiny steel ball. 

Is he breathing? Yes. He continues to scream. Therefore, I know his airway is not blocked. 

We give him water and he passes three goldfish. Down they go.

The x-ray reveals the glistening, glossy globe in my child’s abdomen. That is to say, he will be fine. This too shall. Literally, it actually WILL pass. 

As I pull into my garage, I reflect. To clarify, I allow myself a moment to process what just happened. This could have ended so much differently.

Life can change in the blink of an eye. When he swallowed that steel ball, all of the sudden NOTHING else mattered. Not work, obligations, emails, politics. As a result, this really got me thinking. It’s time to slow down. It’s time to snuggle, to listen, to breathe, and savor. Friends, there are many things that tug at our time. Things that demand to take our attention away from our children and family. So, I walked away having learned an important lesson. Those obligations and stressors are not the things that matter in the blink of an eye. To clarify, they are NOT the good stuff. The good stuff is the soul-filling, joyful, beautiful parts of life that fill us and give us purpose. 

What gives you life? A friendly reminder, lean towards that. 

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A Letter to My Cis, White Sons

It is the year 2021. My hope is that you are reading this and have grown to be strong, happy, healthy men. That you are respectful of all people. I hope that you model this respect not only with words but also with your actions and choices. I hope you are agents of change and pressing for progress in our lost world.

It is 2021 and we have been ravaged by a pandemic for over a year. Many lives have been lost and many more are living with the long-term effects of a virus that is continuously morphing. We are coming out of a presidential administration that has coveted power over people and vitriol over empathy.

As a result, the prolonged oppression of marginalized people has led to an outcry and spotlight on the disparity between the haves and the have nots.

My hope for you is that you have recognized your inherent privilege and worked to educate yourself and those around you about people who look different, believe differently, love differently, and live differently than you. I pray that you have friends that are not just from a myriad of different colors and backgrounds, but also from a spectrum of genders, abilities, and walks of life.

You have grown up in a crazy busy household with four children and at least one dog at all times. Each of us enjoys different activities, we each have different needs, and struggle with different issues. It is my hope that you all see your uniqueness and individual value and don’t compare that to the uniqueness and value of your siblings. 

Most importantly, I hope you have gone into the world and recognized that everyone brings something important and special to the table. In the ultra-competitive, win-at-all costs culture that has taken hold, the world seems to believe that it is okay to step on the backs of others to get what you want or need. I am here to tell you that this is wrong. We are stronger when we work together. We are stronger when we bring together communities and when we value what each person brings to the table.

Throughout your life, your father and I have always been willing to pivot. We have homeschooled all of you at some point for different reasons and have found a path forward in all of life’s difficulties. We value education. Alongside that, we look to be reeducated. Learning lasts a lifetime. Continue reading, researching, listening, and be willing to pivot. Continue to seek people who will challenge your understanding and frame of reference. Remember, the winners write the history that is taught. Always question what you are learning and challenge the status quo.

Finally, your sister is a strong, seemingly fierce, and resilient person. She is tenacious and puts up a good fight. Being transgender in our society is dispiriting. Each of you has a challenge in life however, none of you have legislators proposing laws that will decide your access to medical care. There is no question if you want to play on a sports team, pee in a bathroom, or be who you are.

Your sister is a fighter, but she needs you. She will always need you. Your father and I never knew the enormity of our privilege until our perfectly made, kind, happy, beautiful baby girl shared her true identity one week after turning five. She is who she has always been. Never question her. Never let the people around you influence your opinion of her.

When people bully or ostracize you for standing steadfast with her and other marginalized communities, please remember my words. We are stronger together. Empathy is not weakness. You are unique and special and we can make a change. I love you.

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Finding Our Way Through Dyslexia

January 26, 2012: 

“I love these chick eggs. I just need to take off the skeleton before I eat them.” This is what my four-year-old son said while eating chickpeas. From where I’m sitting, my life is like a chick egg. It all makes perfect sense to us. We don’t think about our kids being different. For example, two of our children are dyslexic. This learning difference is significant enough that they are enrolled in a school that specializes in supporting the unique ways that they learn. To the world, they appear as though they merely struggle with reading and spelling. But sometimes you just know when there is something more. Something deeper.

The early learning years were a challenge. Trying to get them to read was like wading through mud. Recognizing letters and remembering which sound each letter makes was so difficult for both of them. Hours of them not getting it and me not getting them. In the end, that is what it boiled down to. I didn’t get them. I didn’t understand why all of this was so hard. Things were particularly difficult with my third child. It felt like she wasn’t paying attention or was just being defiant. We floundered in the public school system with teachers and administrators pushing them along, explaining they would “get it eventually.”  

It was in my son’s second-grade year that they explained that he has anxiety. High anxiety. Debilitating anxiety. He was never a challenge in class, always wanted to answer questions and had many of his own. Then, each night before bed he would puke his brains out. Not missing a beat Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Wait? Why wasn’t he vomiting on Friday or Saturday? Vacations and breaks were the same. We took a trip to Disney no puke in sight…until he figured out we were going back. 

Teachers blamed the anxiety on my cancer diagnosis. My family is stressing and so we must get into counseling. Sounded reasonable and damn, I am stressing, so we work the problem. Counseling started and soon December rolled around and so commenced medical workups. Bloodwork for PANDAS, PANS, Lyme Disease, and rainbow panels performed. Everything came back normal. More counseling and questions. More good behavior but failing and falling grades. June rolls around and we are prescribed a brain MRI. Perhaps a closed head injury or something wrong with his brain. Why is he vomiting every night? Nope, normal. 

Do you have a family history of dyslexia? “No,” I replied. “You’re sure?” she asks. After leaving her office, I lit up the phone with text messages. My husband, my mom, and my dad. Anything? “Yes, ” my Dad answered.  I scolded him. This was serious and I needed an honest answer. Something was wrong with my baby. His reply, “I have the paperwork from Georgetown University from the early 1960s.” My mother, “What do you mean you’re dyslexic? We’ve been married 40+ years, when were you going to…” It went like that for quite some time. We finally found our reason. 

Cognitive testing, homeschooling, and ultimately finding a school that specializes in learning difference has been such a blessing in our family. It is interesting to hear the stories of other families because we have all walked a similar distorted path to ultimately figuring out that our children are just wired differently. Personally, I have come to understand why school was such a struggle for me. I have reconciled why I was never able to pass spelling tests and struggled so much with things like math and chemistry and am more of a chef than a baker. I need latitude and the ability to improvise because precision and detail are difficult for me. Seeing the big picture and looking for ways to make the smaller parts fit into the puzzle is my strong suit. 

If you looked at my grades from undergraduate or even graduate school, you might think I didn’t measure up. I now understand that tests and grades are only one way to measure intelligence and success. I don’t want to be measured in standardized tests (SAT oh Lord), or math tests. Please measure my intelligence in terms of leadership, collaboration, kindness, project management, and outcomes. The way I get there, or even my children get there might not fit into “standard protocol.” The point is we get there and should not be destroyed in the process. Because from the outside what is a chick egg to one person is just a chickpea to someone else. 

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Pride Is More Than Corporate Parades & Floats

It has been five Pride’s since my daughter shared her truth with us. Pride means a lot to my daughter. She understands it to be a special time for people to come together to celebrate their differences. To relish in our individuality and support others like her. 

During her first Pride, she wore her very first dress. It was a long, cotton, teal, maxi dress with rainbow animals printed on the fabric. Her hair, still so short and soft, was pulled back on one side with a mesh bow with brightly colored pom pom balls inside.

It was just the two of us testing the water, as her news was very new. We had not yet shared outside of our bubble and she was not ready to socially transition.

We spent the day roaming around Washington, DC, weaving in and out of streets and parks. Skirting the outside of the parade as I was a neophyte and not sure about the appropriateness for children. We walked, shopped, played Pokemon Go and dined at Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse. We stayed in an Air B&B and went to the National Zoo the next morning.

As she has grown so have our Pride calendars. We come together for community with our fellow area parents of transgender kids and have pool parties, picnics, and games. We wave flags, have been back to Capital Pride twice more and then the pandemic hit.

My daughter is sad that we will miss the big Pride event this year. 

Nearly three months ago she started asking again, what is the plan? Although our Pride will not be coming together in large crowds, we most definitely have plans for a private gathering with our close friends. We have ordered our Pride lawn art from the Human Rights Campaign and already have signs and flags adorning our yard. 

No matter if Pride is a corporate-sponsored event, a local community gathering, or a small group of parents dedicated to affirming and uplifting their beautiful children. For the marginalized LGBTQIA+ umbrella, Pride should be about time. The time we set aside to come together with intention. The time we show up for our kids, friends, siblings, parents, and grandparents. Pride doesn’t have to mean floats and closed streets. It needs to be an intentional act to make those who feel “less than” and “other”, valued and special. 

So baby girl, get your flag out, your best Pride outfit and let’s go! I can’t wait!!

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Three Things We Can Learn From Nature

You know from my reflection about the bird nest, that I firmly believe we can learn everything we need to know from nature. As Spring begins to unveil its gloriousness, I am reminded once again how true that is. This past weekend, my family discovered a very large turtle on our property. As I watched this magnificent creature make its way through my yard, I reflected on some things that I would like to share with you. 

Do the next thing

Admittedly, I am in a season of overwhelm right now. Consequently, it feels like the ping pong scene from Forrest Gump. I am constantly getting whacked and bounced from one issue to the next. That is such a “human” thing. As I admire that turtle, I realize that although I am not sure what his mission is, he is focused and determined to complete it. Laser. Sharp. Focus. So friends, when your mind starts to feel like a ping pong match on steroids, just do the next thing. Don’t think of the million other things. Do the next thing

Wear your battle scars with pride

At every turn, it feels like there is a new cream, procedure, supplement, or routine to help us look flawless, ageless, like new. Why do we do that? My turtle friend carries her scars with pride. Dirt crusted on her shell, wrinkled skin from time spent basking in the sun, and cracks and bruises from the natural struggle of being a turtle. But, we marvel at her. She is beautiful, scars and all. And so are you. 

Retreat when necessary

It was beyond exciting for my family to see our turtle friend. With excitement, there is noise and laughter and jumping up and down. At first, the turtle moved forward, unbothered by our presence. And then, as turtles do, retreated into her shell to take a moment to regroup from the excitement my family brought to her journey. She paused to breathe. Friends, how many of you are forgetting to retreat? Refusing to breathe?

Can we pause for a moment to think about what these three things look like for our transgender community? They have to do “all the things” just like the rest of us. Meanwhile, they also must fight for freedoms, advocate for health care, and seek community and friendships that are allies. So consequently, it is beyond exhausting. 

They are bombarded with a culture that promotes youthfulness and beauty PLUS the constant worry that they will not receive gender-affirming medical care. 

They need rest and respite, yet cannot let down their guard for a second, because the enemy is always ready with a new law or mandate that dictates who they are. 

We are worthy just by being, not by the amount we accomplish. We are all beautiful without creams or tinctures to make us look younger. Everyone deserves rest and reprieve from a loud and sometimes overwhelming world. 
Just like the turtle, you are enough.


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“Let’s conjure up, from the depth of our souls:

The truest, most beautiful lives we can imagine.

The truest, most beautiful families we can fathom.

The truest, most beautiful world we can hope for.”

~Glennon Doyle, Untamed, 2020

I feel lost. Succumbing to the undertow and being swept out to sea. The overt oppression, police violence, unkindness, greed, and yes, the virus. The damn virus. I have stepped away from my passion, my calling, because I am under siege by the virus. Finding the path through the storm, foraging forward, and putting on a brave face as a provider in a health system that people are undermining for political gain. 

When I read the above quote by Glennon Doyle, it called to me. In reality, her book should call to all of us to rise above the social constructs and niceties that chain us down. To imagine in terms of love and light, not mired down in the despair of the known, but to reach down into our soul to find the path forward. The beauty in what can be, rather than what is. For a million reasons, I have been buried in what is. From this point forward, I am taking back my power. I am making the conscious choice to walk into the vision of what our world, our nation, my community can be. 

Ironically, much of the recent rhetoric is focused on dismantling social constructs that are chaining down those who are marginalized. Those benefiting from such ideals, beliefs, and institutions are reluctant to relinquish their privilege even if they are granted such privilege by stepping on the backs of those in their wake. So, when I imagine and work towards my truest, most beautiful….I find myself struggling with what is.  What is, quite frankly, is really scary, sad, and hard for the trans community. 

My truest, most beautiful life and family does not include neighbors discussing whether my daughter can compete in sports against their kids. They are not discussing whether my child should have access to hormones. We don’t have to leave the public school system because of, discrimination, and lack of services for her learning difference.

Moreover, in my truly beautiful world, authors with the power of the literary pen and leaders of countries do not use their power to legislate, discriminate, marginalize, and oppress in the name of their racist agenda. The naysayers use words like socialism, communism, and liberal. Which are all, ironically, social constructs that people use to manipulate. To pigeon-hole the believers into a winner-takes-all, us and them syndrome. That somehow by allowing in the beauty and light will somehow diminish theirs. When in fact, the synergy of positivity, inclusivity, and togetherness will bring prosperity for us all. 

It is through connection, affirmation, and respecting our individual uniqueness that we appreciate the complexity of our human experience. In summary, without each piece of the puzzle, the whole is solitary and void of the abundant richness of our humanity. 

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3 Things My Trans Daughter Taught Me Through a Game of Capture the Flag

After a full day of work, I come home to pick up my older two children to take them to soccer practice. My daughter is patiently waiting for me by the door. Typically, this is not a good sign. “Mommy,” she said, “we need to talk. School was not good. I’m coming to ride in the car with you.”

As we drive in silence, she takes out her computer and starts putting her words to paper. When we arrive at soccer practice, she tells me that it is too hard to talk and that she needs me to read her book. I am thankful because her school recently gave her access to book writing software and it is a great tool to help her get her feelings on paper. She is just like her mother in that regard.

In her story, she describes PE class that day. The children engage in playing capture the flag when suddenly there are whispers and commentary. Someone has directed that they should “go easy on the girls” and my daughter becomes visibly upset. In the story, her best friend is off to the side participating in the chatter. This is the moment where I hold my breath. Authentic friendships are really important in life, aren’t they?

Lesson Number One: Children are so powerful.

My daughter is incredibly astute when it comes to gender stereotyping and sexist remarks. In her 10 years on this planet, she has grown into a force fighting sexism and gender roles and stereotypes. Yes, you read that correctly. She is merely 10 years old. 

Lesson number two: We need to STOP categorizing people by gender.

My daughter recognizes that when we’re taking it easy on the girls or playing like a boy, we do not leave room for people who identify outside of the binary. She has friends who identify as non-binary and she embraces their truth just as she does her own. My daughter is not alone. In their study of gender stereotypes in socially-transitioned transgender children, Olson and Enright found that “transgender children and siblings of transgender children show less gender stereotyping and greater tolerance of gender nonconformity than other children.”

Lesson number three: Although she is brave, my daughter feels these microaggressions deeply, and so do her peers.

My daughter is extremely upset about what happened. She laments about how hard it is to be transgender. People innocently throw gender stereotypes in her face all of the time. She explains to me that these kids do not understand how hard her life is. She is constantly reminded of her “otherness” when people impose rules, regulations, laws, and norms on her and her trans and non-binary friends. Even when these rules are simply enforced in a capture the flag game. In their presentation titled Transgender Youth: Needs, Risks, Outcomes and the Role of the System, Dr. Johanna Olson discusses the impact of systems, sexism, and heteronormative behavior on transgender people and the harms and adverse outcomes such societal structures inflict.

Friends, it amazes me what a simple capture the flag game has taught me. What it can teach a group of 10-year-olds. In short, my daughter gives me hope for the future. As I witness her and her friends navigate the ins and outs of something as simple as capture the flag, I realize that her school friends are always listening and watching. Above all, they love her and want the best for her. Though her path is not easy she will-Be The Change.

Love is possible. Change is possible. Now go grab that flag like the badass human being that you are.

Note: Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and open my email messages. The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

The date of May 17th is specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

On this day, I remember the 23 known transgender people who have been murdered in 2021 already. According to Everytown for Gun Safety 72% of recorded trans murders have happened with guns and 78% of those murdered were black. With 44 known murders, the year 2020 is the deadliest on record for transgender. The year 2021 poises itself to break that record. My reader, by becoming educated and articulate about what it means to be transgender or non-binary, you are making a difference. When you come back each week to read my quick blog post reflecting on my life, on my privileged life, your veil is lifted. The plight of transgender women, particularly those of color, cannot be underestimated.

Today, I am asking you to donate $5.00 to The Human Rights Campaign. HRC has been at the forefront of combatting the caustic legislation that is further marginalizing our transgender children, sisters, brothers, aunties, and uncles. Above all, we thank you for your support.

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When a Simple Call Changes Everything

“Do you have time to talk?” My stomach hits the floor as I read these words from my children’s school. All of my readers out there who are parents know that feeling, don’t you? The heart quickens, the sweat starts to bead up on your forehead. I feel like this feeling intensifies when it pertains to my trans child. It has been a difficult couple of weeks with multiple doctor appointments and the start of counseling. In short, they are entering the stage where their body begins to change and defy their identity. This is an emotionally difficult time in the life of a transgender person. They are in the thick of it and everything is hard. To clarify, we are in the process of starting trans puberty classes, talking about hormones, and having conversations about mental health and in hindsight, I see that it was a lot to digest. 

Friends, fight or flight is no joke. Of course, when it comes to your children, flight is never an option, so I steady myself as I respond to the text. “Please,” I plead to myself. “Please let them be in trouble for rolling around on the floor, sleeping in music, or refusing to participate in PE.” 

“Yes,” I shakily respond.  “What did they do?” Meanwhile, I patiently wait for hours for a response. Who am I kidding…it was 5 minutes and I am anything but patient, so I call. 

Thankfully, the gentle, calm, familiar voice of our beloved psychologist greets me on the other end of the line. “They have disclosed to some other children.” It is worth noting that as I navigate this life and the hills and valleys that come with it, I am constantly reminded of the importance of having a steady support group. Whether it be a psychologist that just “gets” your child and will help guide and soothe them when you can’t be there or a trans parent support group that has walked your walk and can guide you along the way, the importance of a steady support group is essential.

So back to the call. It was one of those calls that made me sob in my car as I stuffed copious amounts of french fries into my body. A call that sent me directly to my trans support group for guidance. It was the first of what I know will be many calls, but it just didn’t make it any easier. We all knew this day would come and I know we are ready to help them navigate this process, but it still felt very scary. 

It’s funny how fight or flight works. As I was reunited with my child, the fight instinct took over. I gently reminded my baby that they are the sun and the moon and the stars. That they are light and love and that the world without them would be dark. Above all, I reminded them that their father and I support them every step of the way and that we will help them write their story and that together we can move mountains. 

Friends, are you walking through a dark time right now? Perhaps your dark time doesn’t include conversations about hormones, disclosure, or body changes that don’t feel right. Maybe it is grief, or fear, or hopelessness. A reminder to you. All are welcome. We all need that steady support group. Moreover, if you find yourself in need of such a group, email me or comment below. We are all in this together.

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Four Hours

Four hours.  Four hours of waiting, dialing for help, knocking on neighbors’ doors. There I sit, listening to the sounds of my youngest children barking like dogs.  It is cute for the first few moments, but for the love of all things good, could we please stop the barking! Needless to say, I am thankful when the barking subsided.  Practice gratitude.  Isn’t that what the experts say? Grateful that I only have three out of the four of my children with me?  Check. Grateful that it is warm and we are safe? Check. Reflecting that seven years ago this day I was in surgery for cancer and grateful that a minivan breakdown is nothing compared to that. Check. Clearly, I know how to be grateful. I know this isn’t the worst thing that could have happened today.

After four hours of calling for help with no response, I spot our neighbor who is being walked by his dog. We call out to him and he is kind enough to rescue us. Of course, the rescue is not without peril, as all stressful moments tend to have a plot twist just to keep us on our toes.  The jumper cables that he drove 40 minutes roundtrip to purchase were not working- the car was just dead. After he readjusts and shakes his head, I walk to the engine.

All at once, the car turns over. Again comes the gratefulness. “Look, all it takes is a woman,” my kind rescuer remarks. He likely doesn’t think it is offensive. I swallow every bit of annoyance I have because this man did, after all, come to help us.  But should I have? At the risk of seeming ungrateful, I thank him profusely, all the while squeezing his head in my brain. I remind my children that we are warm, we are safe, and that helpers always find you. Even if it takes four hours.

So here I am feeling, well, conflicted. I know, I know. Here comes the crazy soccer mom who is on her high horse about an “innocent” little comment. The feminist with the pink pussy hat marching around Washington, throwing a tantrum because a man said an “innocent” little comment. Let’s talk about this for a minute. Just because someone is kind and generous does not detract from the microaggression they place upon me. While my rescuer probably believes his comment to be harmless and likely hasn’t given it another thought, I am here to tell you it was not.

My daughter wasn’t with me but my three sons were and my oldest was well within earshot. As a matter of fact, he was sitting in the driver’s seat, helping me by trying to start the car. This is not the type of dialogue I want him to hear. This is exactly the type of unintended bias that we caution our children to be mindful of in society. 

Women are taught at a very young age where their place is in relation to men. Gender normative behavior teaches us to be softer, more emotional, dainty, empathetic, and submissive. Society teaches us to anticipate needs and accept what is given to us. Organized religions tell us that patriarchal structures form the foundations of families. They direct us what is good or evil, counsel our marriages, or can you even imagine-divorce, they tell us when to have babies. The list goes on and on.

When girls go into the world as women, there is often no seat for us at the board table. We should feel lucky to be an assistant.  When we finally make it to the head of the department or company, there is always an excuse. “She is the doctor’s wife” or “Her father is the CEO.”  The professional world completely discounting our hard-earned degrees, our valuable experience, and more than anything, our hard work.    

On the flip side, women who stay at home and care for their children are seen as a drag on the family rather than performing the most important function in society. These women are ushering in the next generation. I can’t leave out men who chose to stay at home to raise their families either. Emasculating stereotypes abound for this group of hardworking, priority-focused families. 

The harmless comment made during this terrific act of kindness was a way of putting me in my place. Looking at it through the lens of intention, I do not believe he meant to offend me. Rather, it is commonplace behavior that is affirmed and reinforced for generations and that makes this “acceptable” banter. 

As I reflect on those four hours, I ask myself this question. Should I have reacted differently? I don’t know. We all have to decide where we are going to invest our energy. That day my investment was getting that car started and getting my kids home safely. If I’m really honest with myself, I don’t want the conflict or the negative response. I just want it to go away. But, it bothers me enough to notice it, really notice it. To stand back and say, did he really just say that? What the heck? 

On my way back to the mountains yesterday, I stopped at National Harbor and picked up a cheesecake from The Furlough Cheesecake. Two incredible women started this business after being furloughed by the government. Together, they are making change and rising above. It is inspiring, really. Women out in this world making a way for themselves. When we got to the mountains, we pulled up near my rescuer’s home. My boys dropped the cheesecake on his door with a thank you note from our family. We are grateful, just listening.