My stepmom is a badass.
Let me just tell you how badass she is. She’s getting knee surgery next week, but walked 12 miles yesterday and stood next to me for 4 hours while we waited to march. She was already limping when we met up in the morning, but when I kept saying “you sure you’re okay,” she’d say “I’m FINE” and shoo away my silliness. She’s in her 60’s but flew to DC all by herself to march. She tried everything in her power to reach my sister yesterday thru the crowds and only gave up cuz I made her. After all that standing, which I’m sure was killing her back even more than mine, she marched. And when me and my younger friends said we were going to take a break to sit and eat, she wouldn’t come with us. When I promised her it would be a quick break, she said, “I came here to MARCH.” I didn’t want to leave her alone and told her so, in which she responded, “This isn’t my first rodeo, Melanie. I took a bus from Nashville all by myself in ’69 to protest the Vietnam war with half a million strangers. You don’t need to take care of me.” So we left her. And she marched all day. Then walked 5 miles back home alone.
My stepmom and I have bonded a lot over the last year. We’ve always been friends, but she’s become one of my new heroes and confidants. Between seeing her deal with the crushing despair of my dad getting Alzheimers and having to put her partner of 33 years into a memory care facility against her will, to realizing she is even more of a liberal than I am (I didn’t think that was possible!), I’ve developed an ever deeper love and respect for her. And we are really tight now. While this has been a rough year for us both, having Trump come to power and my dad lose his memory, those two things that made it suck have also resulted in a huge gift- having my stepmom in my life more.
I get my sick sense of humor from my dad (and my looks- I’m a carbon copy of that man) and I get most of my personality and moral code from my mom. But I didn’t realize until yesterday that I get my fighting spirit and my love of solo adventures from my stepmom. I also get my bravery to deal with men from her- she was the only female executive on the board of directors for corporation for most her career. She has been working with men who underestimate her value and brains for decades now yet she’s always proven them wrong and has never let them intimidate her. And she hates wearing dresses, so that’s probably where I get that too. I couldn’t have asked for better parents and unlike most people, I got THREE.
I finally found my sister at 6pm. We only got to hang out for a couple hours in the bus station before she had to leave. But knowing she was there, somewhere among those other 500,000+ people, gave me a great deal of comfort. She’s also shaped me into who I am today. I have been really lucky to be raised among wolves. It makes me way less afraid of the Trumps out there.