The Burden Of Strength

Today while I was in my car waiting for the light to change, I saw a young woman struggling carrying an enamel bed headboard under one arm and the footboard under the other, sometimes switching it to her shoulders as she walked along the street. Just watching her struggle just for those few minutes moved me and made me think about how hard a woman’s life sometimes can be. When we find ourselves alone, women most often find solutions and we persevere no matter how hard the challenge, or stress on our lives and bodies. 

I remember my grandmother who while raising her 10 children on a daily basis cooked for her entire family as well as the farmhands. As if that wasn’t enough, she made all of the clothes for her children, fed the chickens, planted and tended the vegetable garden, and gathered fresh eggs for morning breakfast. 

She baked and cooked everything from scratch in her kitchen on a coal stove that she had to keep fired.

 She used to scrub the wash on a washboard, stirred a hot cauldron of soapy water to get them clean and ironed the clothes with a heavy sad iron. She needed at least two irons on the go together for an effective system: one in use, and one re-heating. I remember the sound of the sizzle when she sprinkled a few drops of water on it to see if it was hot enough. 

Through it all, my dear grandmother managed to have a smile on her face all day long. No wonder she and many other women of her era died in their fifties and sixties. 

 For too long we woman have a hard time sometimes saying ‘no’ to what is believed to be ‘our jobs’ as over- worked-solution-solving caretakers.  

 Now I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Our families benefit from who we innately are and can do. I have to be honest with myself, although I am two generations away from my grandmother, I am guilty as charged and I’m not too sure I can ever change. It’s become too much a part of my DNA. 

How about you? Does the shoe fit? 

Copyright┬ęSandra Hart.    All Rights Reserved

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