sign of the times


with no men around,
the girls are in charge of the scepter tonight,
and we’re watching legally blonde 1
followed immediately by legally blonde 2.

i love these movies.

love the messages they send – the very important messages they send.

and i wonder how my mother’s life would’ve been different
if she’d had someone who believed in her
and kept telling her to listen to her self,
to use her own voice,
to do it her way.

she wanted to go to college,
and the high school guidance counselor
once asked her about going to college,
but she’d always been told that
there was only enough money to send
her little brother to college,
so she told him no, she wasn’t going
and he (the guidance counselor) didn’t pursue it further.

she did run for office once,
but my dad,
who’d held many political offices,
didn’t support her,
so she was the only candidate
with a teenage campaign manager.

i wonder what else she would like to have done
in her life.
last time i asked, she said
it was more than enough being
mother to her three j’s.

and i don’t doubt that she’s telling the truth.
but i still can’t help but wonder
how her life
would be different
had she been born
in a decade
when it was okay
for women to start sentences with
“i want,”
when women had a voice
to call their own.


  1. Sarah

    As a mom of nearly grown up men, i have no mirror in which to see myself as they have seen me. and i know that they will look back at me and wonder who i would have been if this or that…just as you are now doing, and i have done when looking at my mom. funny that i always felt the mother part of me was totally authentic. i sense that your mom may have felt the same thing. it does not exclude what else might have happened. but it is what happened, and so it becomes treasured.

    recently i have not felt attached to the “what would have happened if..” parts of looking back at my life. i used to have big feelings about that stuff — longings, wonderings, feelings of being gypped or turned away from what could have been mine… now all i can feel is grateful. grateful that i am here, now, learning how to be, and being.

    thank you for this sweet, loving post on behalf of your mom’s possibilities. she is, i think, telling the truth.

  2. Karen Sharp

    …to start sentences with “I want.”


    Oh, oh, yes.

  3. angela

    Lately I’ve been asking those questions about my mother, too. Thank you for bringing them into focus.

  4. Sally G.

    Our generation and those that follow have so much to be grateful for from those who paved the path to the choices many take for granted.

    And even in these times of freedom and liberation – I now find myself wondering how my life might be different if I had the voice to say I Want. And then I wonder, once I’ve voiced this – what words would then follow …

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