“Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.”
― George Carlin
Despite what George says, some men are crazy when it comes to women, and some women are stupid when it comes to men. But that’s not been my experience and, as crazy as it seeems, the women in my life have made me less stupid.
Today is International Women’s Day, a world-wide event that celebrates women, and that gives me pause to think about the women in my life and what their impact on me has been.
I suppose I should start with my mother. After all, had it not been for her, I wouldn’t be here to think about anything. My mother was ordinary in many ways; not unlike others of her time, she was the typical 1950’s stay-at-home wife/mother who kept up the house and yard as dad worked, paid the bills, made sure her children did their chores and stayed out of trouble, helping with homework, and civilizing them. In many ways she was the stereotypical TV mom of that era, but not with the party dress with a single strand of pearls under her apron, in high heels and with perfectly coifed hair, as she cooked dinner every night. But like them, she was the glue that held everything together. One thing stands out above all memories of her: admittedly, it was a different day back then, much safer for children, but she allowed me a long leash as a child growing up, allowing me to go out and explore the world for miles around on my bicycle, hours on end (and all day on non-school days) without ever knowing exactly where I was, who I was with, what I was doing. Today that could be considered neglect, but the trust she offered me to not get into trouble allowed me to become self-responsible and self-confident in a way that only that kind of independence allows.
And then there are my two sisters. I suppose, as they were the only girls in my life growing up in a neighborhood populated with only boys, they (along with mom) were my first introduction to the female of the species, and the lessons I learned by observing and interacting with them taught me much about how different women are, and how to love and respect a woman because of those differences, which helped much later on as I began to date girls.
Then there are my two daughters-in-law. Both are strong and talented women. They have both been such a blessing to my sons and, therefore, to me. That they love and respect, care deeply for and stand beside my sons, they have my undying affection.
But above all, my wife of 43 years. No woman has had a greater impact on my life and who I am than her. There are too many examples to list to show how much she’s done for me as a man. I can only admit that I would be so much less of one without her. She has been my rock anchoring me in every storm and yet the wind in my sails in every adventure. Her patience, love, and concern for me has been humbling, she has been everything and more that a man could ever want or need, even if I stupidly at times drive her crazy. She is a gift from above and I thank my God for moving me 3,000 miles so I could find her.
So to all my fellow men I say, today don’t be stupid, do something smart and let those wonderful women in your life know just how much they mean to you, how proud of them you are, how much you want and need them, how much you love them.
Maybe, if you do, it’ll make them a little more crazy over you.