It was another in a long list of ‘lasts’. She – being my youngest my three – is always the one I seem to ‘end’ with. Senior year…and parents weekend. A rite of passage..a part of the fall semester and college life. Altho there is some relief in knowing that this is my ‘last’ call-to-duty …it is also hugely bittersweet. A beginning of an end. An end of a beginning. Either way – it is.
She is living – this year – with 5 other young women in a house of their own. Beautiful girls. Smart. Strong. Talented. Ambitious. Socially conscious. Politically savvy. Aware of where they sit in the global community. They have the world in the palm of their hands. Anything and everything is open and available to them. Professions that were once nothing more than impossible dreams for women..are now very possible and real. There is nothing they can do that any man can do better.
As I walked around the ivy-covered campus….I couldn’t help think back to my college years..to this age and stage of my life. How different the world is for the young women of today. At the college I attended - us women – were few and far between. We were studying and training for professional careers that had been traditionally dominated by men. Tests and scores indicated that we were certainly as smart and capable..but there was always a sense of needing to prove ourselves better. To work harder…longer..more. A constant undercurrent of needing to excel and exceed in order to survive on a playing field that was dominated by men.
Of course – without the generation of women who preceded..the possibilities open and available to us would never have been. They – the few brave and bold – were the first to squeeze their way thru doors that had previously been barred and locked. I know many sacrificed much..in order to achieve the professional status for which they worked. It is to them I bow in gratitude..for without them we – our generation – never could.
Betwixt and between. At that age where my memory is good enough to recall a different time and day..and my vision is clear enough to see the the vast world of possibility and future these young women of my daughter’s generation have before them. Where we had to push our way thru those doors that were just beginning to open..they are walking right thru. There is no longer a thought to having to prove themselves better..or stronger..or smarter. This new world is gender-blind and neutral. These young women are equal to any young man. Not for an instant do any of them believe it to be any other way.
Of course – their journeys are just beginning. Hard to know how it is that they’ll put it all together. The professional careers..the marriages..the families. We know now – that it wasn’t always easy. But somehow – I like to believe that they’ll do it with a little more ease and grace..and a lot less struggle than we. These beautiful..strong..smart..talented young women appear to be more balanced. They’ve learned from the generation before them that they can have it all. They can be smart and pretty and athletic. They can be doctors and lawyers and architects and investment bankers and artists and musicians and more. They can be wives and mothers and sisters and daughters.
They can have it all..and I’m betting that – they will.