Last Sunday I went to a soulful gathering for my granddaughter. It was unusual because in our culture – lacking a Bat Mitzvah or a Quinceañera – there seems to be no tradition that formally launches a young woman. More importantly there is no occasion on which she is held in the circle of the women who form her safety net. Although the Padrinas may stand ready, the young woman may not think of them in that light.
My daughters changed this for their daughter.
On that lovely, late-summer afternoon we met in a quiet corner of a restaurant and told my granddaughter that we were there for her. We had all premeditated the formal words we would say to her and presented those words verbally and in writing. We expressed our joy in her accomplishments and our contentment in who she is. We let her know of our faith in her future and our readiness to listen, to help, and/or to just stand with our thoughts and prayers throughout her coming years.
What a wonderful event. It became a somewhat impromptu women’s group that transcended classification by age and laid a framework around what I know to be true: that women have something for the world. Their treasure is protected but it isn’t guarded. It is intended to be passed from woman to woman and from generation to generation.
What we have is sometimes called nurturing. As we grow older we call it wisdom. Still, no one can exactly define it nor can they bottle it up and sell it. It can be written or spoken but it must be delivered with authentic feeling or it is meaningless.
This has awakened a desire in me to be more mindful of my presence in the lives of the women I love. I want to speak and touch and transmit my willingness to be a resource. I acknowledge that living an example has its merit. But some tangible sign of availability may be even more helpful. It takes remembering that what we have to give is still important even as our role is played from the sidelines.
This event was life-changing for my granddaughter. And for me.