Listening to all the speeches at both the Republican and Democratic conventions and then watching as Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, it suddenly hit me: How, when it comes to family, I won the lottery.
My maternal grandmother was one of nine children, four boys and five girls. They were all open-minded, tolerant accepting and opinionated at a time when that was not so common. They came by it honestly enough, my great grandmother was a pistol. I remember my great grandfather as a quiet, soft-spoken, hard-working man but clearly he was onboard because I never heard him disagreeing or getting riled up. Not that he would have had much of a chance to get a word in edgewise, because we were a pretty vocal bunch.
We were all very close, my immediate family and extended family. I saw my cousins and aunts and uncles and great aunts and uncles and grandparents and great grandparents all the time. Our gatherings were filled with immense quantities of delicious food, boisterous conversations and lots and lots of laughter.
But what I cherish the most is that I grew up in a family where it was okay to choose your own path, to dream, to follow your dreams wherever they took you — in both your personal and professional life. No subject was taboo. No decision disrespected. No voice silenced. And, on the very odd occasion when someone did try to inflict their will on someone else, well watch out, my grandmother and her sisters went on the offense and made short shrift of them.
I don’t think anyone, particularly the women in my family, would be surprised to know a woman is running for President. If anything, they’d be wondering why it took so long.
What role models I had. The forward-thinking, inclusive, empowering, liberating environment I grew up in is one I guess I’ve taken for granted. But after listening to a Republican party who think they have the right to decide who can have what, who can do what, who can become what, who can say what and feel what and expect what — well — let’s just say I am more grateful than ever that I was born where I was born, when I was born and to whom I was born. And I’ll never take any of it for granted again.