Two nights ago, there was a summer thunderstorm, the kind the makes your house shake. I took the time to watch the proceedings in a darkened living room, since the opportunity seems infrequent these days. I always loved watching such storms out the large window of our house when I was a child.
As I gazed out, I saw that the dogwood tree we planted as a tribute to my Grandmother had grown a great deal. And the tree we recently planted in memory of Eve Carson was no doubt enjoying the deluge of water.
I don’t usually indulge in nostalgia. Sometimes, though, it’s helpful to put things in perspective. My thoughts of my Grandmother made me think about two other women who influenced me greatly as a young man, my now-101-year-old friend Alileen Troxler and my wife Robin.
When I was 25, my daughter Anna was born, followed three years later by Caroline. Two more strong women who have helped me in ways I could not have helped myself. My daughters taught me a new understanding of love.
As my children became adults, I made new friends: Susan, Jamie, Sarah, Blaire, Gina, Lindsay. These are some of the finest people I know. Because I believe there is a larger force at work, that people are in our lives for a reason, I often look to these and other women for the qualities I want to emulate.
There are many changes happening in the world with respect to both the role of women, and our understanding of how women and men differ. I will leave analysis of this to those who pursue such knowledge. To me, the easiest thing in the world is to be grateful for these strong women and what I learned from each of them. Where my family of origin may have been lacking, these women more than filled the void, making me a better man in the process.