If I were playing the lottery, I know what numbers I would choose. They would have some variation of 0803 in them (but no, would-be scammers, that is not my debit card PIN number). If I were starting a land war in Asia, I would invade on August 3rd. If I were having elective surgery, I would do it on this day. Today is my lucky day.
You see, August 3rd is the day that my organizing, funny-story-telling, contagiously-laughing wife and my creative, ear-to-ear-grinning, anime-loving only daughter were born. What an awesome day!
I know I don’t deserve such fantastic women in my life, who by choice or by chance came to spend much of their lives with me. (I once gave my daughter a card that said, “I’m smiling because you’re my daughter. I’m laughing because there’s nothing you can do about it.”) I humbly recognize that many people aren’t as lucky as me, and I’m sad to say that sometimes and in some ways my behavior doesn’t reflect my true feelings of good fortune, knowing that they are part of my life. So I keep on trying. Please don’t give up on me, dearest ones!
I often marvel at things they’ve done. My mind bears the indelible memories of my wife spending hours poring over Wrightslaw, multi-colored post-its littering the pages, concentration furrowing her brow, and then, armed with enough special education law knowledge to choke a horse, taking that heavy-handed, ignorant, intransigent middle school counselor and ripping him a new one in defense of my son–her stepson–and then afterwards breaking down in tears at the thought of the injustices he’d suffered. I also remember my daughter carefully knitting me a hat, hour after hour, her newly acquired skill causing the black and red bands to slowly appear in concentric circles, all for the winter protection of her dad, who lately was discovering less natural cover for his noggin. Of course, I have many sweet memories–they are terrific women!
But more than anything, I’m thankful that they’ve lived their lives authentically with me, sharing their challenges and fears, being open about their heartbreaks. I am grateful that they have allowed me to catch glimpses of what it is like to live as a woman in an ofttimes woman-hostile society and in a benevolently sexist church. They have helped scrape off some of the scales that shroud my eyes and keep me from seeing my male privilege.
So I consider myself a Mormon feminist, if I am worthy to claim the label, because my wife shared her pain with me, and I continue to care about this cause because I hope that one day my daughter, or perhaps her daughter, can be part of this religion I love without being exposed to the possibility of that same, gender-inequality pain. And that, truly, will be one lucky day.
Happy birthday my sweetheart girls!