All together now:
“Take my hand, come with me, where the children are free…”
If this isn’t an anthem of sorts, I don’t know what is.
Regardless of the fact that today is July 4th, I don’t have The Star-Spangled Banner or even America the Beautiful stuck in my head. I’m thinking of the word freedom and my instant recall goes to this song: Free to Be… You and Me.
Sometimes my brother and I will still sing this to each other when we remember the time we saw it, live! And we remember the stuffy auditorium, our knees touching as we sat cross-legged on the crowded linoleum floor. I was rapt by the child actors; I was in awe of the stage, the costumes; and even then, after the final curtain, the song seemed to stay with me, it’s jaunty tune on repeat in my brain.
“You and me are free to be you and me/
Every boy in this land grows to be his own man/
In this land, every girl grows to be her own woman/”
I don’t really consider myself a feminist and yet strangely, as of late, it seems I have to explain my relationship with my husband within a feminist context. The conversation will go like this:
Other girl: “My husband has a list of things I need to do today on/at/for the house.”
Me: “Oh. Wow.”
Other girl, incredulous: “Your husband doesn’t do that?!”
Uh, no. In fact, lots of times my husband empties and loads the dishwasher as I sit in his plain view at my computer. Sometimes he has to attend to the Band-Aid placement and pleas for popsicles as I ignore the kids and write. I feel so grateful he affords me this gift of freedom to be the kind of mom I want to be, and that he supports me in my perhaps-different-from-the-neighbor-but- worthy-nonetheless paradigm. Often times he seems to set his watch by my ideas alone, and really, what the heck do I know about this parenting thing?
But he has confidence in the Me I’m trying to be, the Me I hope I am– and I’m grateful to him for it.
I’m grateful for the women who came before me, for the real feminists who fought for liberties that allow me to be complacent, to choose to be a stay-at-home mom and a plethora of other things, that may or may not include “cook” or “sweeper” (depending on the day).
I’m grateful for the people who have died in this country’s behalf. America was founded on notions similar to ideals of the Gospel– freedom, agency, and choices– and I’m grateful that people believe in these enough to fight for their preservation. I’m grateful for this blessed agency, I’m grateful we can be different, that I can do things the way that’s right for me, and you can do the same for yourself.
I’m grateful for my liberties, my opportunities to figure out my “ME” and just be it. The kind of mom I want to be, the kind of wife I want to be, the kind of Mormon I want to be, the kind of Primary Secretary and Relief Society pianist I want to be, and mostly, the kind of woman I want to be.
( Sing it sisters! “And you and me are free to be… You and me, you and me, you and me…”)
How are you free to be yourself?
What do you appreciate about your freedom?