It is the International Women's Day and I celebrate my sisters, friends, and all women (biologically born with the XX Chromosome) around the world.
Finding the underlying theme for this article was a bit of a struggle, as there a number of issues affecting women that are close to my heart. I asked one of my older friends which of the many attributes of the fairer sex, she would like to see celebrated, and she said "our ability to multi-task". We women certainly excel at this. Between being a daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, employee, a day is too short for all that we have to do and somehow, we do manage. In spite of all of these beautiful things that our multi-tasking ability enables us to achieve, this ability does not echo the reality that I perceive the woman to be. Another friend of mine said, it is the strength of the woman but she didn't elaborate. Next, I considered the strides women are making in business, in politics, in my country Nigeria and all around the globe, but even these achievements did not cut the mark for me.
I choose instead to celebrate the life-giving love of women. This I believe is the real hands down, show-stopper, top of the league feature that makes the weaker sex, the most powerful creature of all times. It is not in vain that we rock the world because we rock the cradle.
I celebrate the love that propels a smart, high-achieving, Ivy League graduate to devote her best years, not to running a conglomerate, but to nurturing her family. To the love that chooses to let another live at the cost of her life, I stand in awe. To the love that forgives over and over again, and never stops believing in her loved ones, thereby giving them the strength they need to excel, even in the midst of staggering odds, I can not thank you enough. To the love that stands beside her man, in good times and in bad, to the faithful, sacrificial love of the wife, I celebrate your strength even in the midst of infidelities. To the love that keeps awake, after a full day's job earning an income to tend to the baby, while keeping her worries, tiredness and many times, tears, at bay, lest her kit and kin be worried, I am grateful. To the love that provides counter-cultural life giving advice, I sing your tribute. To the love willing to share the limelight and to step aside, long may you live. To the love that celebrates the success, mourns with her bereaved, clothes the nakedness (material and spiritual) of her neighbors, bears wrong patiently, and corrects with love, I salute you. To the love that recognises and acknowledges her weakness as her very strength, the love that is not afraid to ask for the help she needs, I thank you for teaching us humility. To the love that rises above her pain, above the horrors of sexual abuse, to find the strength to go on and not to repay evil with evil, an ode to your strength I sing. To the love that keeps her baby in spite of everything (abandonment, betrayal, fears, the pain and the shame of being an unmarried mother, of having conceived the baby in rape), long may you live. To the love that forever acknowledges the source of its spring, it's Life Force, and bows in adoration and thanksgiving to its Creator, I can only aim to walk in your shoes.
The title of this article is also a tribute to Alice von Hildebrand and her book, “The Privilege of Being A Woman.” Thank you for reminding us of the incredible beauty and incomparable dignity we have, because we are women. Thank you for reminding us of the strength we enfold within our apparent weakness and "special gentleness"; of the beauty and freedom there is in acknowledging that we are weak and fair.