Being massively overscheduled and overwhelmed by February, I hadn't shown my girls the rehearsal video for the V-Day flash mob in Tarrytown. But on Thursday afternoon, I picked up everyone from school and said to them, "Get dressed warmly; We are going to dance for women's rights."
Now the girls have a vague idea about women's rights from discussing November's presidential election, but this was going to be closer to home.
Our conversation as we walked down route nine to the Warner Library:
"Girls, there are some women who have boyfriends or husbands who hit them." I paused.
"If you EVER are with a man who hits you or makes you feel small, you have to leave. There is NO EXCUSE for a man to hit a woman."
There was a pause, and then Lily quietly asked, "Did Daddy ever hit you?"
"NEVER. And I have never hit him. We sometimes get angry at each other and hurt each other's feelings, but we never hit each other. Daddy would never hit me."
"I want to marry a man like Daddy."
"Yes, you do. That's right."
I was choked up and fired up by the time we reached the Warner Library and entered the crowd of women and children wearing red gloves and red hats and scarves. Immediately upon arriving, the ebullient Margaret Liston ran up to us, gave me a huge hug and opened a red bag to hand the kids little Hershey Kisses. Women and children kept arriving, until the crowd was ready to head down route 9.
Cars honked at us as we passed them, chanting, "Strike, Rise, Dance, Break the Chain!" Kids carried signs, women held banners. Social action flowed down the streets of Tarrytown!
Having been a victim of domestic abuse, myself (in my 20s), I was too moved to chant. I just felt the strength of being with these women, pride to be a woman marching and standing up to a dispicable part of the human condition, and love for my family and friends, who emanate peace, kindness and honest communication. I felt grateful that my children were marching, that they were participating in something larger than themselves.
I couldn't see the girls; they were up in the front with some other children, leading the way. Soon we approached Main Street, where the marchers from Washington Irving converged. We walked proudly down Main street, both sides of the street resonating with chants, pride and unity. My chest swelled with admiration for the organizers and gratitude that my girls were a part of this. Maybe someday they will find themselves in a situation where THIS EXPERIENCE will help them make a good decision and never stand for abuse of any kind.
We all gathered in the parking lot on Washington Street. The dance was beautiful. When I see the photos of the flashmob, I get teary, remembering. Together, in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, we danced, and contributed to BREAKING THE CHAIN of violence against women.