|Deb and Laurel|
She used this chance to speak from the heart about what being a woman means to her. She asked me if her speech was too long to publish to the blog—and I answered, as we often do, that people can read as much or as little as they choose. But I can’t imagine anyone choosing to skim it (although you can skim the (unexpected) parts about me ;) ); Deb’s speech is fantastic. Of course I am always aware of how amazing Deb is, but she still manages to surprise me and take it to a whole other level. She makes me so so proud. So here is Deb’s Women’s Day speech in all its unadulterated glory!
Deb: In honour of International Woman’s Day, I want to talk about the joy of the female presence in my life. I say “female presence” not only because of the women in my life, but because I am blessed to have in my family two men who are very much in touch with their feminine side. I am married to actor Colin Mochrie and we have one beautiful 21-year-old boy, Luke. Colin, for his part, cries like a girl during So You Think You Can Dance. It is sweet—and yes, I got his permission to share that.
When we had a boy, we thought, “Okay, here we go, hockey, baseball, soccer. But the boy had other plans. Ballet, jazz, musicals, modern art. When he was around ten, he decided to add a game to family game nights. He called it: Luke Goes on a Date. I would play his “date” and my husband would be relegated to play bus driver, chauffeur, waiter, cab driver, and that ilk. He had to reconcile himself to being a “special business extra” in our son’s dating life. So we would play the game and Luke would take his part very seriously, as would I (Oedipal implications aside).
At the end of playing our very first time, our son broke down in tears. We were shocked, especially Colin who felt that he had particularly excelled at the role of the valet guy. We asked the boy what was wrong. God bless him, through tears he said, “It’s just that, some day, some day it’s going to be real!”
One day when playing the date game, he stopped in his tracks as we fake-walked into a restaurant, “Mom what do I do about the door. Should I open the door for my date? Will she like it; will she be upset?” And I said, “Luke, here are the three stages of opening the door in a woman’s life. In her teens she will think it is sweet and romantic because she is all squishy about the prospect of love and romance. In her college years she will reel on you. ‘Why the hell are you opening the door for me for? Am I helpless, am I an idiot? Do I not know how the damn handle works?!’ In her middle years, she will be comfortable with her equal role to men and be grateful for the thoughtful gesture, secure in the fact that masculine and feminine have nothing to do with equality.” He soaked it all up like a sponge and, although he is only going on 22, he has had a great relationship with a beautiful young woman for three lovely years. I’d like to think I had something to do with that. Me and his cab-driving dad.
I am a lucky woman, my friends tell me, as my husband does all the cooking, grocery shopping, and laundry. I know what you’re thinking: What the hell do you do? I think my son said it best when asked to describe what his parents did for an essay at the age of 6. After listing Colin’s jobs for two long pages, he finished with: “Mommy lights the candles and pours the wine.” He was exaggerating a little, of course. I now use battery candles that are on timers, leaving me extra time to allow the wine to breath.
But in my defense, my husband LOVES to cook. It is his hobby and his joy. And he does the shopping because he does the cooking. He does it alone because he says, and I quote, “You just slow me down.” And he does laundry because—given the vastness of my wardrobe—I need only do laundry twice a year, during summer and winter solstice. My husband on the other hand has enough socks and underwear to last exactly two weeks. That is the way he likes it—and who am I to argue if a few of my items get cleaned in the mix. I am just that kind of collaborating partner.
And believe me, I do plenty. Believe you me. I know it sounds like I doth protest too much and I admit that my list would sound lame if I spouted it off, but I do what every other woman I know does, I keep our family afloat; I keep all the cogs greased and turning; I keep all the balls in the air. Okay I know that sounds like I am generalizing because I have no real list, but it’s not. All I know is, I never sit down. You are going to have to trust me on that.
So, branching out from the TESTROGEN in my house (just invented that word), I am surrounded by a wealth of wonderful women. I have tons of dear friends, some that I have had from the age of five whose relationships I still cultivate. But I have also come to friendships later in life that surprised the heck out of me. One such relationship is my guest here today. My wonderful and charming friend and writing partner, Barbara Radecki. We have collaborated on TV scripts, movies, and the project closest to our hearts: our blog, The Middle Ages. When I met Barbara in 2001 doing a film together I was instantly struck by her charm, gentle manner, energy and haunting beauty. But I had no interest in pursuing a friendship with her—and not because she was a shade taller than me (6 inches) and a tad prettier (waayyyy prettier). You know how it is when the friend roster is packed to capacity and you barely have enough time for the friends you currently have? Well, that was the case here.
Barbara and I had started shooting a film called Expecting on the unfortunate start date of 9/11 and the day after, Barb went to her local mall to get some school stuff for her girls. The short story is that as she sat in the parking lot chatting with her husband on the phone who was in Windsor on business and she suddenly found herself the target of an attempted carjacking. Suddenly she was kicking and screaming as she fought off her aggressor, a man wearing a scarf around his face demanding the car. She kicked his ass from here to there. The next day I asked her how she did it? Wasn’t she scared? How could she kick and scream and win? She simply said, “After 9/11, I was not going to be a victim.” And I thought, “DAMN, gotta make room for this one in my life. Gotta. That girl is the whole package and I need this special gal in my life!”
I think woman are stupendous creatures and not just the stuff of the online poems and platitudes that I get in my inbox every day. Now, make no mistake, I am not casting aspersions at the Irma Bombeckian bombardment. On the contrary, I love Irma. She was one of the great broads. But I will warn you. If you send me one of these, I tell you in advance that I will not be forwarding them to 5 fabulous women I know and sitting by the computer to see if I get five back. Apparently getting five back in the yard stick by which my worth as a fabulous woman is measured. My reasons are this: I am secure enough at this stage of my life to know that I am fabulous and insecure enough to sit waiting all day, staring at my inbox, obsessing over how many I am getting back or not.
Because of our blog, The Middle Ages, I am now lucky enough to also be warmly surrounded by women from all over world. These women come in the form of teenagers and grandmothers, and everything in between, with every point of view imaginable. My world of woman is branching out thanks to our blog. Oh, and if you are thinking of joining the party, keep in mind that typing “blogspot” is imperative after “The Middle Ages”, unless of course you are interested in medieval forms of torture and tales of scurvy and the plague.
Because of all my women, young and old, far and wide, family and friend, with their voices secure in my heart and in my everyday life, I really don’t need the little daily reminders of what women are. I know what women are, as I have seen the stuff of which they are made every day throughout my life.
The women in my life are the people who drop off coolers of food to my 85-year-old parents to lessen their load. They arrive at my doorstep when they know I need a face-to-face and can’t ask. They sit at deathbeds ushering a fellow human out of this life when others can’t take it. They plant gardens and send flowers. They keep the family traditions going year after year. They emphasize the beauty in this world when it is threatened by the bad. They keep their relationship conversations going in good times and bad and refuse to be silent and let issues slide. They stand up for other women. They do not paint all men with a single brush. They judge each human as a human first. And yes platitudes abound as we laugh till we pee while we eat chocolate and watch An Affair to Remember. Thank God there are plenty of those good times. But when times are bad, these women are the people I turn around and see in front of me. They are the one’s asking, “What can I do?”