It was not until I was sleeping in a pink ruffled bed in a pink walled room, surrounded by all things sparkly and pink, that I began to fully realize our enormous responsibility – as parents of daughters and as a society and Catholic community. Laying there in my niece’s bed, with my own girl in the neighboring bed, watching the light show from the nightlight contraption my niece had so thoughtfully turned on before I went to bed, I thought of the great women I’ve known, and I thought of how each of them started as little girls, perhaps gravitating towards ruffles and pink, perhaps climbing trees and inventing salves.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about my feminine role as mother – physical, of course (I have children), but also spiritual. I’ve read about the importance of women with regard to so many things in the world. They raise children. They run multiple corporations, from their homes to Fortune 500 companies, simultaneously. They discover great things in the fields of science; they lovingly teach children from preschool to college; they give-give-give until the very end. They juggle schedules and laundry and cooking. They find time to give each other a boost along the way, and they seem to fill the pews at Mass, bringing with them their families and others they’ve influenced.
Who raises these women? What transforms the little girls into women who go about changing the world one small corner at a time? How do we keep from crushing that delicate pink enthusiasm within them with our searing realities and harsh admonitions to grow up?