Friday, March 9, 2012

Festa delle Donne

Yesterday was a big day for the women in Italy. It was the Festa delle Donne, "womens' Day" the Giornata Inernationale delle Donne, a day when all women are honored for who and what they are and have done. In Italy, a simple branch from the mimosa tree is given, almost as a valentine,to women, by people who love them, admire them, or simply want to acknowledge their presence.
The mimosa is a beautiful sign of spring, a branch with many, many yellow blossoms. The delicate blossoms hold on to a much stronger branch. This conjures up an image. The strong branch,the family,with all of its history, its good memories, its bad memories. The family that one cannot chose. The foundation. The delicate flowers represent to me those things which so many women balance on the branch, every day of their lives. As each of the delicate flowers hangs in trepidation on the branch, so do so many of the challenges that women have before them. Birth of a child, household management, illness, death of a loved one, tears, laughter, education, support, sleepless nights and self-deprivation.
Oh, I know so many women who are skilled in the art of self-nurturing. A lot of them have never had a child of their own, some not even a mate. Self-nurturement is an art, not something to be criticized by any means. Some of us are able to learn it and use it, while others fail miserably in their attempt.
A lot of the great women I know have not been given the opportunity to indulge in the art of self-nurturement. Some have lives that are filled with childcare, children who will never grow up mentally and will always need their "mommies". Some have lives filled with personal tragedy, personal illness or a sick or disabled child or family member, a spouse who clings to her for life.
Some of my friends have been stay-at-home moms, others have had great careers. A lot of my women friends are talented. Art, music, writing, home decorating, public speaking, the list goes on and on. I am in a state of constant awe, never at a loss for being blown away by these ladies.
So, to all of the women I have been so very privileged to have met in my life, and to all of the women who are out there, "doing their thing", keeping the mimosas blooming, Auguri! Best wishes! And a million thank yous for being who you are.

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