Tag Archives: marriage


Today in the United States we celebrate a national holiday called Thanksgiving.  It’s a day to stop and remember to be grateful – grateful as a nation for our freedoms, and grateful as individuals.  There’s been A LOT of debate about that “national” part of it recently, with hysteria in some circles over refugees, but other than asserting that our national history dictates we MUST welcome refugees, I don’t want to talk about that now.  (Just wanted you to know where I stood.)

In this space, right now, I would like to share the things for which I am thankful.  It’s an important thing to do once in a while, because if we aren’t conscious about naming the things we’re thankful for, we can either 1) forget, or 2) take them for granted.  Naming those things helps keep us grounded, and in the chaotic world in which we live that is certainly important.

I am thankful for my ever-patient husband.  We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this year.  As with any couple who have been together that long, we’ve been through a lot together.  We’ve had bumpy patches – we still do.  There are days we don’t like each other very much; days where conversation is strained; days where marriage feels HEAVY.  I am not an easy person to live with – I require too much time alone, I keep too much to myself.  I am SO thankful that he accepts me, and pushes me out of my solitude (even when I push back).  He loves me, and that tells you A LOT about his character.  I’m a lucky woman.

I am thankful for my older daughter, now sixteen.  She is pushing way too many buttons for me to even mention here.  She reminds me of myself, yet she is a person I never was.  I am struggling mightily right now (along with my husband) to strike the balance between protecting her (from others and herself) and giving her the freedom to be herself and even to make mistakes from which to learn.  I feel like I’m walking a tightrope with no net.  It’s more frightening than I ever could’ve imagined.  As she gets closer to legal independence the more serious this tightrope walk gets.  Dang.  But she is AMAZING.  She is forging her own path, making her own way.  She is smart, funny, loyal, passionate, and she is (and will be) a tremendous gift to the world.

I am thankful for my younger daughter, who next month will officially become a teenager.  With her autism she has overcome in her almost thirteen years more than some people have been through in a lifetime.  She works SO hard everyday.  Her teachers and my husband and I have worked SO hard with her.  And that hard work is paying off.  A few months ago she made the leap from an autism focused program, to a district special education classroom!  We are all so proud of her.  She is friendly and cheerful, wanting to make connections with people.  She wants to be a teacher or a fashion designer.  I’m not sure if either of those things will/can happen, but whatever she does she brings light with her.

I am thankful for my son, nine.  He still loves to hug his mama.  He still loves to cuddle.  Although he can very well go to sleep by himself, he still likes me to sit with him while he does – and I don’t mind. He draws better at nine than I do at almost 50!  He has his struggles being at the end of the “child” line in the house.  He has his struggles being a boy that likes to play with dolls (shhh… don’t tell his friends).  He is smart, sensitive, creative and energetic and I can’t wait to see how he continues to grow.

I am thankful for my online community, which includes all of you who read this.  Those of you who follow me through WordPress or on Twitter have given me a life-giving creative and supportive outlet for all my musings.  The various camps I hop between:  autism, parenthood, mental health, and faith have been true lifesavers – keeping me from feeling isolated and alone – and not just alone but from the feeling like I am in the only one in world going through some of this stuff!  I am so incredibly thankful for you – you really have no idea…

I am thankful for the people in my past – the ones who held me and even the ones who hurt me.  They are all part of the person I am today, and for the most part I like myself.  I am thankful for the people in my present.  I am thankful for the country in which I live.  It is most certainly not perfect, and right now my level of frustration if pretty high.  I know that there are people within our borders who do not have the same level of freedom I do, even if we claim it on paper.  I know there are people who have even more freedom than me.  I promise to do everything I can to point out the flaws when I see them, and celebrate the successes when we have them.

I am thankful first of all, most of all, for my faith.  I can’t put it neatly into one paragraph, but without faith, the family above never would’ve come into being.  My faith grounds me, keeps me humble, lifts me up, pushes me, gives me strength.  Faith is the beginning of the person I am and the person I am becoming – a journey not a destination.

Enough about me.  What are you thankful for today – and why?  May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  And for those who struggle with these family related holidays – remember family isn’t just blood.  Family is the people who love you and look out for you and push you and protect you and laugh with you and cry with you.  (just my 2 cents…)


when they’re sick

In the past month all three of my children have been sick.  It started with my teenager.  Almost a week with a nasty cough.  Coughing with her makes me nervous – very nervous.  She has asthma, which can make these things worse.  But it’s not just the asthma.  It’s a mistake I made when she was four years old (before she had asthma) that will stay with me forever.

She had a cough then.  A cough that wouldn’t go away.  I kept her home from preschool for a week, letting her rest – thinking she would get over it.  Week two came and while she was still coughing, otherwise she seemed fine.  I made the decision to send her to preschool – she was only enrolled for half-days, and I figured a few hours back with friends would actually be a good thing.  Two hours after I dropped her off I got a call from the preschool director, “She’s as white as a sheet and just wants to sleep.”  When I got to the school she looked like a ghost.  She fell asleep within minutes of me putting her in the car.  I called the pediatrician while driving (a no-no these days, but this was 12 years ago and I was WORRIED).  They told me to bring her right in.  The doctor put the stethoscope to her back, and a worried/something-is-wrong look came over her face.  A few more listens just to make sure, she stood up and said, “She has pneumonia.  I want to send her for a chest x-ray.”  I sent my daughter to school with pneumonia.  Good God.  What an awful mother.  (As much as you tell yourself you didn’t know, and never would’ve sent them to school knowing they were really sick, there are few things more powerful or irrational as mommy-guilt.)  A chest x-ray later we were going home with antibiotics and another week or so of being home-bound. A few years after that we would have our first experience with the wheezing that goes along with asthma, and I’ve often wondered if that bout of pneumonia did something to make her lungs more susceptible to it.

Anyway, since then my mommy guilt gets the better of me when my kids are sick and I tend to err on the side of caution.  That said, my children are consistently pretty healthy.  In the past two years I think they’ve had less than a handful of sick visits (knocks on wood…).  So when my asthmatic teenager has a cough that won’t go away and starts to feel lethargic – I TAKE HER TO THE DOCTOR.  And I did.  She was fine, the doctor said.  Just keep doing what you’re doing to get her over this cold/cough.  My husband looked at me like I was an over-emotional worrier, but I didn’t care.


Next up was middle child – my “almost” teenager who also happens to have autism.  When she’s sick the whole world knows.  She coughed for about a week just like her big sister and we muddled through without giving her any medicine, because it’s a world war to get her to take any kind of medication.  By some miracle though we were able to find a cough drop she would tolerate to at least keep her throat from being too scratchy.  It wasn’t pleasant, but not too bad – and she didn’t miss any school.

Last with the cough was my nine year old son.  He too had the cough for about a week and muddled through, except that after a week it hadn’t gone away, and on Halloween (a beautiful Saturday) he was “done” trick-or-treating in an hour, wanting to “go home – I’m tired.”  UH OH.  Saturday night he had a low-grade fever.  UH OH.  Sunday the fever went away and he seemed a little better during the day, but he didn’t sleep well at all so I kept him home from school on Monday.  He was still droopy on Tuesday, so another day at home.  By Tuesday night he spiked a fever over 101(f).  BIG UH OH. Wednesday morning, first thing, I planned to call the doctor.  My husband (who never wants any of us to be sick – we “half” jokingly refer to him as Howard Hughes), was pretty condescending, telling me I was paranoid and rolling his eyes.  He was sure it would be a waste of money to take him to the doctor only to get the same message we’d gotten a few weeks earlier with our teen.

When money is a constant worry in your life, a hundred dollar doctor visit needs to be well thought out.  We haven’t met our deductible this year, so office visits are still coming “out of pocket,” and a visit costs almost $100.

My husband wasn’t being heartless.  He was being the thinker, the logical level-headed one.  Often in our relationship we take turns being emotional and/or rational – and we usually balance each other out well so that we aren’t panicking at the same time.  But in that moment I could’ve slapped him.  My mama bear panic was starting to set in, and no matter how hard I tried to think logically, my instinct told me to get to the doctor as fast as I could.  I am determined NOT to ever go through again what I went through with my teen when she was four.

As my droopy feverish (although not as bad as the night before) son sat on the exam table, the doctor got that same worried look I remembered from years before as she listened to his chest.  Walking pneumonia.  They’re seeing a lot of it this fall…  After some helpful advice (keep doing what you’re doing) and a prescription for a STRONG antibiotic, we were on our way home.

BEST hundred dollars I could ever spend.

AND… I completely resisted the urge to tell my husband “I told you so,” although I AM sharing that thought with all of you. 😉


big things in little packages

So the medication is starting to kick in again, which is good.  VERY good.  It still amazes me how the littlest things can set me off though.  Last week my husband and I had to have a rough conversation about money (specifically the lack of it) and I just wanted to cry and hide for days.  I needed him to comfort and hold me and tell me he still loved me even though he was angry – but when he’s angry that’s the LAST thing he wants to do!  To my credit, I made myself explain to him why I needed to be held (because I’m the quiet pondering type afraid of rejection), and to his credit even though he didn’t want to he did (because when he’s angry and stressed physical contact of any kind is the LAST thing on his mind).  We’re working this marriage thing!

It’s also amazing that after all my years and hard work in therapy that I still associate anger with lack of love.  What the hell is up with that?  Of course it’s possible to be angry with someone and still love them!  Of course it’s possible to be angry with someone and not think of leaving.  But to me anger still looks a lot like hatred, and it’s hard for me to distinguish in the heat of the moment that they are two VERY different things.  Depression makes it all the harder to see that.  I’m not liking myself very much right now, and I’m feeling very raw, so of course you must really not like me, and this incident is just proof.  Even though you’ve been married to me for T W E N T Y years…

Alright, so maybe the thing with my husband wasn’t such a “little” thing after all.  Maybe it was a big thing wrapped in a small package – a money conversation that exploded the bomb of my abandonment fears.  Gotta watch out for those big things in little packages, they can sneak up on you and knock you over if you’re not careful, especially when you’re just starting to stabilize on your meds.  Problem is that the little package looks so innocent, no big deal.  There’s no label on it that says, “Pandora’s box.”

So the medication is starting to kick in again, which is a good…

worse, poorer, sickness

I don’t write about marriage very often, mostly out of respect for my husband’s privacy.  He didn’t sign up for this blogging stuff and is a more private person than me.  Also, the times when I’m most tempted to write about marriage are usually times I just want to rant about my husband’s faults and failures (of which he has many – as do I).  I’m either feeling slighted, taken for granted, or wronged in some way, and I want to state my case, not just to him, but to the world!  Now… while that would be tremendously satisfying in the short run, and garner me much tea and sympathy since you’d only be getting my side of the story, in the long run I believe it would spell disaster.  So I generally stay quiet here.

But there is something to be said for sharing that ALL marriages go through tough times, that no marriage is perfect, and that even the most consistently wonderful and nice people are capable of being mean, hurtful and passive-aggressive.  We all have unhealthy ways of “dealing” in our relationships.

I am NOT perfect.  For one thing, I learned early on in life to not express my “negative” feelings (or even know that I’m feeling them!).  You know what I mean.  Feelings like anger, disappointment or hurt – the bad ones.  Of course they’re not bad, they just ARE – but expressing those feelings is an invitation to conflict, and conflict is terrifying.  As a result, I’m not much of a talker.  My husband, on the other hand, thinks by talking.  One of his greatest frustrations with me is that he hardly knows what I’m thinking.  I am still a mystery to him, which is sometimes thrilling but other times downright infuriating.  One of my greatest frustrations with him is that I always know exactly what he’s thinking, even when I wish I didn’t.

Next month we will be married for T W E N T Y years.  For some people that may be a drop in the bucket, but for me twenty years is a LONG time to be working at something.  After twenty years you’d think we’d have each other and this “marriage thing” figured out.  Nope.  Not even close.  And it gets harder when you have children, because not only will you have the disagreements that normally crop up when two people try to live together, you’ll also have disagreements over parenting style/decisions – a new hard area for us as our oldest child is now deep in the pool of adolescence.

We’re still learning how to maneuver around one another – to know when to grant space/come close, when to push/comfort, when to talk/listen.  We’re often not on the same page which makes it difficult too – one of us needing space when the other wants to come close etc…  There are SO many ways to fail.  And so many times we do.  It’s amazing to me that we haven’t figured out better rules for disagreeing and for resolving our disagreements.  I mean, yes, we have certain basic ground rules – no physical violence, no shaming, as much as possible don’t be nasty in front of the kids, and unless it’s REALLY bad, even if we’re still angry, we will sleep in the same bed (that’s a huge hot button for me since my parents slept in separate rooms for years).  One of the good things about our relationship is that after a rough patch we often come together and talk about how we can do it better “the next time.”  Because there WILL be a next time.  Perfection is unattainable.  There is no perfect marriage, because there are no perfect people.

So why stay together?  Why exhaust ourselves working so damn hard at something we know we’ll never get completely right?  I can’t answer that for you – I can only answer for me.  For me it’s about love, but it’s also about commitment – not for the sake of the children, or what religion dictates – but the life we have built together.  It’s not always pretty but it’s ours.  We’ve been through A LOT, and for each battle we come through, that means we’ve just made it through even more.  Shared history is powerful.  And those vows we made when he and I stood at the altar and before God and our loved ones?  Yeah those.  The “worse, poorer, sickness” parts.  Marriage isn’t roses, candy and romantic walks on the beach every day.   True, it’s hard for a marriage to stay together without loving acts of kindness and tenderness – and if you find no happiness at all with your partner it may be time to free yourself (I know, I was divorced a long time ago) BUT… to expect sunshine all the time is just too much – too much pressure on you, your spouse AND the institution.  Again, no perfect marriage because no perfect people…

I’m writing this because I just had a really bad three days with my partner.  There were moments when I thought I was just too emotionally spent to break the ice, could see that both of us were “digging in,” and wondered how we’d figure out how to travel over this big bump in our relationship.  But the thaw has come, kindness is returning, and we’re talking, thank God.  Sometimes waiting is the key – waiting for those HUGE emotions to ebb – waiting and *showing up.


* I give credit where credit is due – for more on “showing up” you can read Glennon Melton at Momastery here –  she’s phenomenal).

My love…

The other day after posting about my recent vacation, a twitter friend responded that I should write something “good” about my husband for a change.  This friend said I had the “he irritates me” thing covered.  Really?  Is that the impression I give all of you about the totality of my feelings for a man I’ve been with for 20 years?  OUCH.

Perhaps it’s because I tend to write when I’m upset or angry or needing to vent or pondering my life’s truths.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t written much about him aside from a comment here or there since he’s very private and doesn’t like me sharing too many details of himself.  I also write about things I’m still trying to process, like motherhood, or autism, or faith – not that I have marriage all figured out BELIEVE ME but since writing about marital “stuff” might mean sharing things about him (which he doesn’t like), I’ve been staying away from that topic pretty much.

So, let’s call this post a tribute to my wonderful, loving, sensitive, amazing, handsome hard working hubby!

We met when I was beginning to come out of a bad depressive fog.  After my divorce I went through some serious soul-searching, one clumsy attempt at a relationship, and another relationship that everyone around me agreed had been a bad idea.  This was the totality of my romantic involvement in the FOUR years since my divorce – one almost boyfriend, and one not-so-good boyfriend.  I had finally gotten to the point in my life, thanks to a lot of therapy, where I felt that if I never found “that special someone,” if I never got married again, I would be ok.  I was starting to like myself.  I was content to be alone.  Then HE came along.

I was determined to take it slow, after all I wasn’t even looking for a relationship.  But pretty soon it was clear that this relationship was more than casual.  It felt BIG.  Very BIG.  And we were tested.  I should say, HE was tested.  I came with baggage.  I had been divorced.  I grew up in an abusive home.  I was on medication and in therapy.  And I was well on the way to being stalked, which eventually became scary for the both of us (I wrote about that here if you’re interested).  Being with me was no walk in the park.  But his patience and desire to learn about my experiences and be supportive knew no bounds.  What man reads a book his girlfriend’s therapist recommends to her, so he can learn and understand what his girlfriend is going through?  A wonderful man, that’s who.

That was our beginning.  And for 20 years we have been with each other through thick and thin.  I’m not saying we haven’t hit bumps in the road.  I’m not saying our relationship is perfect (there is NO such thing).  I’m not saying we never irritate each other (you hear my side of things, but Lord knows I irritate him too!).  What I am saying is that we have a love that recognizes the faults in each other, even speaks them – a love that exists WITH the faults.  Are there things I wish I could change about him?  Heck yes.  Are there things he wishes he could change about me?  Oh, most certainly.  But we DON’T try to change each other, to make the other into an image that we would create for them, except when health or safety is involved (an example of this was a few years ago when I was in another major depression and he said “Enough. You need to find a doctor and get help.”).  We also don’t feel compelled to do everything together.  I don’t like sailing.  He doesn’t like social media.  Yet he is free to go sailing, and I am free to enjoy my internet friends.  He has never tried to force sailing on me, and I would never force Facebook or Twitter or this blog on him.  He does his thing and I do mine, and we’re ok with that.

On our last day at the beach we had to situate ourselves next to a young couple (it was the only spot big enough for all of us that was near the lifeguards and close to the water –  two non-negotiables for me at the beach).  She tenderly rubbed sunscreen on his back, and he longingly moved hair away from her face.  They giggled and stroked one another and held hands. For a few brief moments I wished hub and I were back in that place again.  But I quickly snapped back to reality.  It’s nice to have the passion that comes with youth and a new relationship, but I like the place hub and I are in SO much better.  The shared history, the comfort of knowing (for the most part) what the other is thinking or feeling, the security of knowing each other’s flaws and shortcomings and loving one another in spite of them, and sometimes because of them.  My love has seen my worst and he is still around.  Even after birthing three children and how that’s “changed” my body, he looks at me and still wants me.  He thinks those changes are wonderful.  He thinks I’m beautiful, even when I don’t believe it myself.  And as we age together he is still one of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen.

So he may be irritating.  He might annoy the heck out of me sometimes.  We still have fights – sometimes awful fights.  Thankfully though, our fights are few and far between because mostly we are able to talk things out.  He is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, loyal to a fault.  He is affectionate, caring, passionate, always worried about those he loves, and strives to find the best in people.  I am so grateful he is in my life.

IMG_2432We’ve been together for 20 years, and I pray another 20+ years more.


my happy place, part 2

Ok, so in my first post about the beach I got all theological and reflective.  It’s nice that on vacation I actually have a little time and “head space” to do that.  But I didn’t go on some beach retreat.  I was with my FAMILY – and that my friends is a blessing and a curse!  Sorry to use theological terms again, but if the shoe fits…

This vacation was a little different from past ones.  Money was really tight this year and we really hadn’t planned on going anywhere – maybe a few little day trips to keep us from losing our minds, but nothing expensive.  I shared this with some friends and one of them who owns a small condo very close to a beach area (and only lives there part-time, the other part is spent on the opposite coast) said, “I’m not going to be at the condo at the end of August.  Why don’t you guys use my place?”  My jaw dropped.  That was a hugely GENEROUS offer –  I gave her plenty of time to think about the FIVE of us invading her space when she wasn’t around – but she stood by it.

It was tight – her condo is ONE bedroom.  Hub and I used the bedroom while the two younger kids slept on her sofa-bed.  There was an alcove in the entryway with enough room to put an air mattress for our teen – the only thing missing was a door for ultimate privacy.  And boy did she miss having a door!  But free is free, so we had to make the most of what we were given.  But teenager was definitely NOT happy – not happy about her lack of total privacy, not happy about the slow wifi, not happy about being separated from her friends, not happy about having to spend a whole week with US, her weird and so-uncool family, plus she’s decided that she doesn’t like the beach anymore (who is this person and what has she done with my girl?).  Her attitude was really annoying.

There was an ever-so-slight shift in her behavior when I dragged her with me to tour a local lighthouse while her siblings and father stayed behind.  She enjoyed the view, but especially reading about the history of the place and seeing some artifacts raised from a shipwreck.  She enjoys experiencing history, but most of all anything that might have “paranormal vibes,” so the artifacts were really cool for her.  For the same reasons she also enjoyed a tour we took of an old military base used from the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s.  Although she was disappointed she didn’t pick up any “vibes” there at least we got her to leave the condo and get her nose out of her phone!  Problem though was that the younger two HATED this trek.  They complained almost the whole time – too much walking, who cares about where the old guns were fired to test the munitions, who cares about the dark tunnels where the guns were stored underground, who cares about the ruins of the old barracks – – where’s the beach?

There was NO time during the week when everyone was happy.

The younger kids wanted to go to a restaurant every night, teen wanted take-out.  Younger kids wanted the beach, teen wanted to stay home (luckily at 15yrs, we could leave her back at the condo so she could have some private time).  Teen wanted to sleep in, younger kids got up early (remember teen had no door to block out noise).  You get the idea…

And my husband?  Well, he slept a lot.  It’s what he does on vacations, which is not always helpful.  And he is even more lost than I am about how to live with a moody hormonal teenage daughter.  I’ve only got a little edge on him there because I WAS one at one point, a long time ago.  And I’m more of a morning person, not that I LIKE the morning, but that’s when I have my surge of energy.  My husband is more of an evening guy – so I always wanted a walk in the morning and he always wanted one at night.  But we’re grownups, so I went on a night walk once with him, and he went on a morning walk once with me – the other days we just irritated each other with our opposite body clocks.

So that was our vacation in a nutshell.  Yet even with all that, we were at the beach, which is my happy place, and I WAS happy – and grateful.  Grateful for a wonderfully generous friend, grateful for my relative good health (fibroids, high blood pressure and perimenopause are manageable), grateful for the health of my husband and children (autism sucks sometimes but at least it’s not cancer), grateful for the quiet sunrises I enjoyed while my family slept and the condo was quiet, grateful for the warm sand under my feet, the sun on my face and the giggles of my kids, even though they were never all giggling at the same time.

Oh, wait a minute, I take that back.  There was ONE time during the week when all of them were laughing EXCEPT me.  We were at Applebees (a family friendly restaurant chain) and they were all (hub included) acting like beasts, and I started glaring at them.  My husband snapped a picture they all thought was HILARIOUS.  They laughed about that dang picture all week.  I leave you with this:


But this is MY favorite picture:


Two Rings

When my husband proposed to me it was a complete surprise.  We were just walking in a park and suddenly he went down on one knee – all old fashioned.  I was stunned.  There was a pause – probably seeming like an eternity for him – while I tried to comprehend what was happening, and if I really wanted to take that leap again.  (I had been married once before – a short marriage – a pretty quick crash and burn.)  I said yes.

He didn’t have a ring.  He said he wanted me to pick out a ring that I would like, not make the choice for me about something I would wear (hopefully!) for the rest of my life.  That was very thoughtful of him, except I told him I didn’t want a ring.  I didn’t need a ring as an outward sign of our inward commitment.  He said he really wanted me to have a ring, that it just wouldn’t feel right to him for me not to have one.  I could tell this really bothered him, but the thought of wearing a ring bothered me.  So I had to do some thinking about the reasons why the both of us were so bothered, and how we could “fix” it.

Here’s what I came up with when I unpacked my thoughts and feelings about it.  I know probably the majority of people, men and women, don’t think about engagement rings this way – but this is the way I see the whole “ring thing.”  It’s a commitment on the part of the groom that he’ll follow through on his promise of marriage.  Of course he’ll marry you, he’s already spent so much money to “claim” you!  Everyone can see in the ring that there’s been a claim made on this woman – so other men, stay away.  Also, the fuss that other women make over engagement rings just seems silly to me – and the judgements!  All women who hear you’re newly engaged want to see your ring, and if it’s small people think you’re poor or cheap, if it’s big people think you’re rich or a show off – so superficial.  It just seemed so archaic to me.

But what to do about it since it seemed really important to my future husband that I have this archaic symbol?  He didn’t want to “claim” me – for him it truly was an outward sign of his love and commitment (NOT ownership) – and, because he’s such a “proper” guy, the “right” thing to do.  After a bit of thought I explained that if it was so important to him that I have a ring then he should have a ring too.  Now it was HIS turn to be surprised and stunned.  We talked about my thoughts and my concerns and why this was so important to me.

Well, he consented to wear one too (honestly if he hadn’t, I would’ve questioned my decision to marry him).  But what kind of ring would it be?  I decided on a very simple stone for myself, but a matching diamond wouldn’t look very good on his hand.  In the end he decided he wanted a signet ring with his initials.  After he received his wedding band he would switch it to his right ring finger.  On the inside of the ring I had our engagement date and our initials engraved for him (not as a reminder – he’s actually much better at remembering dates than I am!).

photo(20)He loves his ring, as I love mine.  And now we have a great story to tell folks whenever they admire HIS ring!  Hopefully we get them thinking too…

Perhaps a new tradition… one that’s a bit more equal – for men, and for women…