I want to say more than a word for all the men I've known who've supported women's strength. Today I was with my son and his four year old daughter at the playground. In her natural habitat, she's a fearless, tough girl, but walking on to this new place with a gang of kids four years older who all knew each other was a challenge even for her. And then we came to the pole. You've seen them--the playground equipment that has a pole about a foot away from a stand that's about 6 feet high. Kids jump from the platform and slide down the pole--the bigger kids just swing down. But J was afraid. I was glad to see that, because sometimes she's done such daring things that I worried that she didn't have a realistic idea of the harm that could come to her body. But clearly she does. Her Papa (my son) stood by the pole with his hands up to catch her. She said she was afraid, he said she didn't have to, but that he'd catch her if she did. Finally she held on tight and swung her legs over, and slid down. She ran right back up and then was afraid again, but finally did it. They did this many times, and then he began to lower his hands, and finally told her she could do it without them. She was reluctant, and he kept saying she didn't have to do it, but she kept wanting to. Finally she figured out how to wrap one leg and then the other to climb over without a jump. She'll be leaping from it soon enough. 

I remembered my father taking me out into the ocean, over and over. You've got to jump the waves, he kept saying, lifting me up, until finally one day I caught the crest and flew all alone.


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