By Keri Ann Thompson, CWA Staff
I have several roles in my life that I cherish and would not want to change for any amount of money or treasure. They are: wife, mother, daughter, sister, godmother, and aunt. There is a feeling of belonging and identity that happens with those words.
I am a wife. My husband chose me, and I chose him. I didn’t earn it. He saw something in me that made him want to cherish me, protect me, love me. I saw something in him that made me want to walk beside him and be his confidant. As my husband, he is my provider and protector. As his wife, I am his constant companion and support. We are different, yet we are equal.
I am a mother. Again, I didn’t earn it. This title is so incredibly precious to me. I was told at a young age that I would likely not have children. We were so surprised after seven years of marriage to find that I was pregnant. We had a beautiful son, then found out about two years later found that we were pregnant again. Tragically, we lost that baby to miscarriage. Blessedly, we have our rainbow baby girl who came along about a year-and-a-half later. Hearing them call me “Mommy” is one of the greatest blessings of my day each day. No other person will be their mommy, just like no other person will be their daddy.
I am a daughter. Once again, I had no choice in the matter. Biology made me a girl. God’s wisdom gave me my unique set of parents. I played with both G.I. Joe and Barbie with my friends; I skateboarded and rode bikes; I climbed trees and jumped out of them; I wore a dress to church on Sunday. These things didn’t make me a daughter or a son. Biology did that.
I am a sister. What a unique bond sisters have. My sister and I did not get along well when we were kids, but now we are an integral part of each other’s lives. I did not choose my sister. She was chosen for me, and I for her. To say that we are “siblings” is technically correct but does not connotate the depth of feeling and relationship that we have. There was a time when “sibling” would have been enough for me. Now, only “sister” carries the weight of our bond.
I am a godmother and an aunt. These relationships are the same to me, except that I got to choose to be a godmother. I did not choose my two nephews, but I did choose my goddaughter and godson. I love these four as if they were my own children. I want what is best for them. I love getting to spoil them, teach them, pray for them, and interact in their lives. I love that they can see me as a second mother to them.
I have other roles in life. I am an employee, a teacher, a friend, a confidant, a counselor, and many more things. None of these things carry the weight to me that those listed previously do. There is a responsibility in those words. There is honor in those words. There is character in those words.
The 117th Congress of the United States of America has decided that those words no longer have any meaning. This small group of people has decided that who I am, what I am, how I identify myself does not matter. As women, we have fought for centuries to be seen as having equal rights with the men around us. We fought for the right to vote. We broke through stereotypes and became business owners, leaders in our communities, and even members of Congress. We have worked so hard to be seen as equals. “Equal” does not mean “erased.” Why are we now allowing ourselves to be erased?
I am a spouse, but more than that, I am a wife.
I am a parent, but more than that, I am a mom.
I am a child, but more than that, I am a daughter.
I am a sibling, but more than that, I am a sister.
I am a relative, but more than that, I am a godmother and aunt.
I will not allow who I am to be erased. Will you?