For the first twenty-five plus years of my life, I felt more connected to the male gender. Throughout my middle school, high school, and college years I had way more male friends than female ones. Of course, I had a few girls that I trusted and could tell anything to. And one or two, who I was really close to that I would even smoke Marlboros with and cut class. But overall, at these stages of my life, I felt more comfortable around males. I was even able more readily to
admire males over females. But then I turned thirty, and from that point on, my perspective had changed entirely.
During the last five years of my life, I have witnessed countless acts of unwavering courage and unbelievable strength from women in my circle of friends, women from our seaside community, and from one of the most important women in my life, my sister.
I have some badass girlfriends. Not because they ride Harleys or remain standing after pounding five shots of tequila. My friends endure. I have a friend who only cried once after being diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer. When “cancer” entered my world, I was on the bathroom floor unable to move. Yet when recalling her story, she actually smiled and told me she “had two boys to raise and they needed her.” She never looked back but rather dedicated herself to being the best mother she could be. Did I mention that she was also a single mom? Badass.
Another girlfriend of mine had her world turned upside down upon hearing that her mother had been diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease. Honestly, I would struggle to get out of bed if faced with such a circumstance. But in looking at my dear friend, one would never know of her struggle. She maintains a calmness and stick-to-itiveness that is admirable. She goes to work. She takes her mother to all of her doctor appointments, all while managing to hold down her own fort. She values her role as wife and mother. She doesn’t complain and is one of the most genuine women I know. Did I mention that she doesn’t drink? Badass.
Within our Gloucester community heroism is all around us. She is the woman that has the drive to start a new main street business and still raise four kids. She is the young woman that moves by herself to North Carolina to start anew. She is the woman that can still believe in love after being lied to time and time again. She is the loyal wife of over 30 years. She is the woman that has the courage to file for divorce. She is the woman that can still raise a child after losing one. She is the woman that can work more than one job to provide for her family. She is the woman that decides to follow her dream or face her fear. She is the woman that runs for office. She is the woman that chooses to be a stay at home mom. She is the woman that has lost a spouse or sibling unexpectedly. She is the woman that faces a health scare of her own. She is the woman that ran the Boston Marathon. Did I mention that SHE doesn’t always roar? Sometimes she just shows up, and that alone is enough. Badass.
My sister is one of those women who always shows up. No matter what time the hockey game is, no matter the hosting state, she is always in that rink for her sons. And she’s probably there two hours ahead of time. No matter how many times she has faced unfairness or less than desired
outcomes, she has pushed on. She never complains about being the sole provider, but rather has always found a way to provide. She always puts her boys first yet somehow finds a way to be there for her family and friends when they need her. She is the type of woman that shoots straight and knows just what you need and when you need it. Intuitively, she knows when to take you on a Backshore ride, grab her Macy’s card, or pour a big glass of wine. She is the woman that picked me up off that bathroom floor after I was misdiagnosed with lymphoma and spoke only this to me, “So, you’ll beat it.” She is the woman that hates hugs but can still make you feel loved and comforted. Did I mention that she just closed on a new house for her and the boys? Badass.
It may have taken me thirty years to truly connect with the female gender. But in only five years “She” has taught me the real meaning of compassion, loyalty and above all, strength. Imagine what “She” will teach me in next twenty-five.
And this is not some feminist propaganda piece. I could give you a thousand reasons why I love my Daddy.
Lori Sanborn was born in Gloucester and returned to live permanently in our seaside community three years ago. She has been a public educator for 12 years, teaching eighth graders. Lori is most proud of her role as mother to her children, Emerson and Ryder.