In honor of the holiday, I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the women in my life who have effected me and altered me irrevocably as I've had the pleasure of knowing them.
My mom was a musical prodigy. She was a Cello virtuoso, a pianist, and, a profoundly gifted Opera Singer. She also was offered a life choice at a young age that I've never quite understood. She was offered a full ride to the King's College in London to study opera. At the same time, she met a schnook-y medical student that lit her heart on fire. She chose my dad.
For years I never understood why. I mean, my dad is terrific, but, those were her hopes and dreams. My entire life I've never quite been able to parse out why she did what she did, or, more importantly, how she did it. She devoted her life to him and to their children. She put our happiness ahead of her own for nearly fifty years.
And then, this morning, she casually slips in to conversation that after those same fifty years, she's going to try out for a part in a local play. Despite deferring her dreams and pleasure for the sake of her children, she never really forgot it. She never really forgot the pleasure and joy that drove her early life. It takes bravery, it takes heart. She has both.
My sister had a grapefruit sized cyst on her ovary when she was a teenager. That was just the beginning of a life of illness that includes Epstein-Barre, Lupus, chronic migraines, and more. Through it all, she's remained one of the most generous, loving people on earth. She's got more friends than I'd ever hope to have, and, in spite of her health problems, she's managed to build a legacy of the most important kind. One of love. Her community of friends is so much better for having her in it. And now, after struggling all of those years to figure out what to do with her life in the face of these great obstacles, it seems she's found her calling. She's taking the years of experience not just in art, but in humanity, to teach art to those who desperately need it in their life. She's found a way to professionally bring joy to those around her, and to show them the joy that's already inside them.
And then, there's my wife. Christina is the very definition of a self-made woman. She pulled herself out of the life that was laid out for her, and fought against every negative impulse that plague every person. She's built an empire based on something very simple. The love of history. The power of our collective memory. To see her receiving her recognition, where every person in the room clearly sees not just the brilliance, but the beauty, and the strength of her commitment to our city is positively breathtaking. That she does it while also writing non-fiction, churning out comic books, editing photo books, mounting exhibits, hosting important programs all over town, and, yes, being the best damn mother on earth, is, if nothing, proof of why I'll love her for the rest of my life, and why everyone who meets her feels the same.
And finally, my kid. In the five years I've spent with her, every day I'm constantly amazed at how... perfect she is. How thoughtful and compassionate and brave. How, when a kid is bullied in her class, she gets in-between them, and resolves the problem. How she understands that some fights are worth having and some are worth walking away from. How she brings joy and lightness to everyone who meets her. How she's going to do more than I could ever imagine doing myself. How she is just a better person than you, or me, or just about anyone I've ever met.