Monday, January 23, 2017

A Letter to Caleb

I think the world has gone a little crazy.

No... I know the world has gone a little crazy.

I just watched an impassioned speech Ashley Judd gave on Saturday during the Women's March on Washington. Apparently it was a recitation of a poem written by a 19 year old about being a nasty woman, a moniker many have claimed since Trump degraded Hillary in a debate or a campaign speech or something, and Ashley quoted it with dramatic flair like only a Southern woman can do.

Over the past few months, we have seen this divisiveness continue to grow. Some blame it on Trump's fiery and rude statements. Others say we have been divided for years (and I tend to agree with the latter, although Trump's nonchalant attitude toward mockery and sarcasm somewhat disturbs me).

Feminism is not a new term. The "Women's Rights Movement" that I learned about in history class focused on women having the right to vote. The idea that women are equal to men is one that has continued to be an issue in politics, in religion, in education, and in the workplace, and women still have not been deemed "equal".

I have never  thought someone was better than me just because of their gender. I have never felt inferior to a male. I have been made to feel stupid by a male, but I have also fell prey to condescending words from a female.

I understand that women face many challenges. My conservative viewpoints do not try to wipe away domestic violence, sexual assault, and the realization that in many parts of this world women do not have the voice that they should. I read a post someone shared that talked about while they had not personally been marginalized, they were marching because they could... and some women can't.. .which is true. I AM NOT saying in this post that women are not often victims... globally, the atrocities many women face on a daily basis are unimaginable to me, and too often those same things covertly happen here. I am not blind nor deaf, nor am I na├»ve enough to believe that women have shattered the glass ceiling. I empathize with women who daily face abuse, who are afraid to say no, who know the heartbreak of abortion, who feel shame on all sides. It's not right, and I am not minimizing this...

However, I don't quite see how wearing a large hat shaped like a vagina on your head is any less degrading than words spoken...

but that's  neither here nor there, because the greatness that is (and always was, even before Donald Trump vowed to bring greatness back) America is that peaceful protests are not just accepted but often encouraged. From a young age, I have been taught by my parents that my voice matters, and my opinion matters, and if I think something is wrong I should stand up for it.

That's what many of those women chose to do on Saturday. I'd like to point out that it doesn't make any of us who chose not to march any less of a woman, and marching or protesting doesn't make anyone a monster.

I write all of the above to get to my main concern. I am the mother of a teenage boy. An impressionable young man, for sure. A young man trying to navigate his way through the landmine that is social media and misrepresentation by main stream media.

I'm responsible for teaching him right from wrong, and not to pat myself on the back, but he seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders. This weekend left  him questioning, though... particularly the fact that women were wearing large vaginas on their head and also a post he saw of two women holding a sign that said, "If Mary had had an abortion we wouldn't be in this mess."

(No.  We wouldn't.  We'd be in an even bigger one... but that's just my humble opinion.)

Regardless of your political stance or your beliefs on abortion or women's rights or whether it serves a purpose to wear a large vagina on your head, you must agree with me that it's our responsibility to teach our young people... while encouraging them to figure stuff out for themselves. A daunting task at best. And I recognize that my views may be entirely different if I were the parent of a young, impressionable daughter, but...

Here  you go.  This is my message to Caleb in this upside down world in which we live...

You are a man. Maybe not emotionally, but for all intents and purposes you are one physically. You stand a head taller than me and you wear a size 12 shoe. It's been ages since you could pass for a child at the movie theatre.

I can't tell you all that being a man entails, because I have never been in that position. I have never been inclined to think like a man. Admittedly, I am not the perfect Mom or wife, but I have always been more than happy to allow Wallace to pay the bills in our household. I rather enjoy the fact that he is concerned with our welfare and that  he is a good provider. I have no qualms with admitting that he is the breadwinner in our household...but that doesn't make my vocation any less important. A woman can be important when working like I have, or when staying at home with her children. The choice is hers.

One day, you will grow up and fall in love. (Or maybe this puppy love between you and Lauren Green is the real thing. If that's the case, then you have already fallen in love). You will know that there is no one else on the planet for you. You will desire to move heaven and earth to make her happy. You will do everything in your power to make her smile.

Not all men do that... but I think that is one component of being a man. Loving even when it hurts, and knowing that it's ok for a real man to cry. Cherishing those you love. Knowing it is ok to admit when you are wrong.

Women and men are different. We are anatomically different, but we are also emotionally different. You have already experienced that as you've seen firsthand how your dad and I sometimes relate to one another... or fail to do so.

We can be different but equal. Women are not less than. Women deserve your respect. They are just as smart as you. They are just as capable as you. Do not ever handicap anyone just because of their gender.

If anything, treat them a little better, because  your Mama has raised you to treat a woman special.

Your dad will admit that he isn't a romantic, and I'm ok with that, but I see in you the makings of a very special guy. You're the guy who will send flowers. You're the guy who will write cheesy love notes. At times I see how caring you can be, and I appreciate that. Keep it up.

Know that your words are ammunition, and no one ever deserves to be treated poorly, woman or man. You can make or break somebody with  how you treat them. Respect, always.

Know that the loudest roars often come from people who have deep-seeded hurt inside them. I don't personally understand every situation, but I do know that I'm called to be empathetic and to show love. You need to show love, too. Not always acceptance, but before you call a spade a spade make sure you have thought through and have a reason for it. And also recognize that in some people's perception, a diamond will be a spade and you're wasting your breath, energy, and mental capacity to try to argue with them.

Know that a woman's body is her body and no means no. No woman needs to be belittled because of her boobs or her butt or her stomach size. This isn't a cattle market, and you remember that. I think we both know how I feel on the pro-life issue, but not every woman feels the same as I do. Respect that.

I have great expectations for you. As I mentioned, I feel like you've got a good head on  your shoulders, no thanks to your Mom. You are capable of making decisions that will influence others around you. Make  those decisions. Be smart. Be loving. Be kind. Be respectful.

Whether you're dealing with a man or a woman...

Because we all deserve that.


  1. We must remember that within marriage we are to honor and respect one another.

  2. I love this thoughtful post and letter. Your son is blessed to have you for his Mom. Evidently Donald Trump never got this talk from his Mom, or maybe he just didn't listen. I think we do need to tell our sons, that the type of behavior demonstrated by Donald Trump is NOT acceptable. Your post is the most reasonable one I have read on this subject. I applaud your honesty, compassion, and practicality. I also did not march, but I am glad they have the right and ability to protest. It is one of the good things about our country.