By: Holly Vanderhaar
In honor of its 100th anniversary, Girl Scouts of America has declared 2012 “the Year of the Girl.” I realized tonight that this summer is also, at least in our little corner of the world, “the Summer of the Woman.”
I have no idea if something’s going on in the stars, but there’s a lot of powerful female energy happening in our family lately. We’ve been treated to two movies—The Hunger Games and Brave—that feature strong and courageous female leads. We have had visits from four wonderful women in the last month. First was a friend, C., who’s faced some devastating setbacks in the past year, from going through a nightmare of a break-up to being diagnosed with cancer. She recently took a mini-tour through the Midwest to reconnect with old friends and celebrate coming through her radiation treatment with flying colors. We took Grace and Isabelle on a road trip to some Laura Ingalls Wilder landmarks here in Minnesota, including Walnut Grove, and listened to the audio book of On the Banks of Plum Creek as we drove. It felt great to reconnect with that pioneer spirit, especially since I’m related to Laura on my mother’s side.
After C. left, A. paid us a visit from California. She was only here for four days, but during her visit I laughed more than I have in ages. I needed to reconnect with my silly side, in the middle of a fairly stressful, over-committed summer, and I gave myself permission to take the weekend off, to obsess about movies and celebrities and good books in a way that I haven’t had much time for since I had the kids.
And then, a few days after A. went home, my mom and my sister came to town. My sister drove my mom up from Phoenix, and stayed a week. My mom is staying until the end of July. For the first part of their visit I was buried in work, the after-effects of giving myself the weekend off to act like a teenager with A., but if you want to dance, as they say, you have to pay the band.
But last weekend we set off, three generations of women, to spend a couple of days on the shores of Lake Superior. It was glorious. I have a passion for the North Shore; it feeds my soul and recharges my batteries and a whole host of other metaphors that don’t really capture how sacred it is, a place that transcends any language that I could attempt to use to describe it. I hope all of you have a place that does that for you. It was a gift to be able to spend those days together with my family at a place that means so much to me.
And soon I’ll be setting off with my daughters and my dearest friend to uncover the life story of another woman, Susanna Martin, the Salem witch who’s the subject of my upcoming research trip to Massachusetts. I hope my research and eventual writing do her justice. But with all this great goddess energy in the air, how can I miss? I’m so blessed to be able to raise my daughters in the middle of such a powerful tribe of warrior women and teachers and healers and poets.