When I think back on my childhood Christmas there are certain words and memories that stay with me most throughout the years. Silver tinsel, Santa Claus wrapping paper, sticky square bottomed bows, Charlie Brown carols on my tape player, my first Cabbage Patch Kid, warming up by the wood burning stove, and watching my mom unwrap the gift I bought her each year at the jewelry counter at JCPenney.
Is there anything stronger than possessing gentleness? To do so is to have a character that is consistent, reliable, and steady. A weak person cannot do that. Leo Rosten goes as far as to say,“Gentleness is to be expected only from the strong.”
That afternoon, the smell of banana bread baking took me back many years. To a time when my boys were small and life was beautiful but very hard. 10-15 years ago, I would bake banana bread, not for an after-school snack, but because it was a meal we could afford.
The question I’ll never ask another woman is, “How do you balance it all?” This question has always irked me. As women, it’s almost sewn into our DNA to juggle many things at once. Instead, I wonder, “How do you recharge?”
I am certain that we can learn from and champion each other when we understand that every woman we meet in the boardroom, the locker room, the school parking lot or at the negotiating table is likely also adjusting her sails to weather a storm.
With my power suit ironed and my game face on, I had been verging on puking for two days as I prepped to speak to the decades of experience in the ballroom four floors down. But in that moment of culminated anxiety, my little white bow actually became a gift.