Thursday, November 8, 2007

Changing Women

I am all for change, personal growth and development have been written into my strategic and directional manifesto from day one. I mean, "I was country when country wasn't cool". As my son Spenser says of me however, "You tend to be a bit hypocritical about personal views when they effect you on a deeply emotional and unexpected level." I would love to give that kid a nice "Hawaiian Punch," but the little bounder has a point. Let me explain my situation.

Changing Woman Basket by Elsie Holiday
Changing Woman Basket by Elsie Holiday.

In Navajo culture, there is a deity representative of totally positive energy. So positive, in fact, that any and all negativity she encounters is absorbed and redispersed as goodness and light. How cool is that? This same being is also representative of the ultimate female. She has mastered all skills essential to provide for her family and guide them safely and compassionately through life; the ultimate role model as it were.

Recognized as Changing Woman, this incredibly benevolent being is also known to evolve through time and with the seasons. She is born in the spring, grows into a young woman by summer, becomes a fully mature adult by autumn and declines through winter; eventually passing before the cycle begins again. I love this story, because it touches me on such a basic down-to-earth level. It also makes me sad and retrospective because of its reference to mortality.

From the story of Changing Woman emerges the young women's coming of age ceremony; the Kiinaalda. Very basically, a pubescent girl is inducted into womanhood by selecting an adult female she considers to be her idea of the perfect woman. This stand-in for Changing Woman guides the girl's charge through the ceremony and into a positive, productive and benevolent future; the demise of adolescence and the birth of a woman.

The significance of this story, for me, has altered slightly with time. It scares me now, and keeps creeping into my head; upsetting me. I watch helplessly as my children mature and begin edging towards the door. My darling offspring are growing up and looking forward to dispersing into the big, wide wonderful world. They are going to leave sooner rather than later, and the prospect terribly upsets me. I love those brats, and enjoy their presence in my life more than I can say. It distresses me to think that they are growing up and gravitating away.

Spenser, I believe, would have moved on by now, but for the fact that he has not yet worked out the financial complications of independence. He is one of the most driven and determined individuals I have ever known; the boy is fearless. He is constantly racking up accolades in tennis, cross country and academics, and is ready to fly.

Because she is only twelve, our youngest, McKale, may stay awhile. She has the mind and wit of a 30 year old, and is raw emotion personified. McKale wants to eventually work for NASA. That prospect excites me; I have always wanted to be a space cowboy. Having a daughter in the business couldn't hurt my chances of accomplishing that goal.

Volleyball Team
Alyssa's Volleyball Team.

Daughter Alyssa is also growing up way too fast, she just turned 16 and is gaining confidence in leaps and bounds. Boys beware, her father is, "dangerously psychotic"! Alyssa was recently on a high school volleyball team of totally talented and tenacious young girls. This highly motivated and spirited group battled for and won the AA Utah High School Volleyball Championship. Top notch and motivated coaching, and the outrageous support of an entire town has helped the school bring home five straight titles, and nine in the last eleven years; quite a tradition!

The story of Changing Woman helps me understand the cycle of life and the beauty that can be found in it. Attempting a life of turning negatives into positives, learning and sharing love and compassion seems a great way to live. Surely children grow up and move on, and, as parents, we have the responsibility to, "teach them well and help them find their way." I know the dispersal of my children should make me happy and proud, since I know they can and will survive, and will be both positive and productive additions to society. The truth is that the effect on this parent is traumatic at least. I am also afraid that without the distraction my kids provide around the house, Laurie might take a closer look at who and what she has been saddled with and want to change ponies!

With warm regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.

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