To All The Independent Women

I just got back from a glorious wedding in Detroit. I drove there and back, solo. It was a little over three wonderful solitary hours in which I listened to whatever music I wanted to, answered zero requests and found rest stops actually restful. After arriving at my destination, I was discussing with my gracious hosts the plan of when and how to get to the hall. My hostess made a remark that I seemed very independent (so it wouldn’t be a problem if I ended up going alone).

It was an accurate observation. I am pretty independent, always have been. It’s how I attended a wedding in Monsey at the last minute with all my kids but not my husband. It’s how I made it through three years of my husband’s residency, which was full of days when I wouldn’t see him at all. It’s how I found my way back to Salzburg from Munich after missing my bus.

I look at things like an adventure instead of like a terrifying and overwhelming experience full of potential disasters. Most of the time.

This attitude comes naturally to me, but I know a lot of women for whom it doesn’t come so naturally, yet through determination and circumstance, they have found themselves to be more independent than they ever dreamed. Independence comes in many ways, as many ways as there are personalities. What may not look like an independent move to one woman can be the result of a huge amount of work and struggle for another.

Here’s to all the independent women whose husbands don’t come home erev Shabbos until it’s practically time to light.

Here’s to all the independent women whose husbands travel for work, who hold down the home front and constantly adjust to the presence or absence of their spouse.

Here’s to all the independent women who studied for years and years and years to earn higher degrees.

Here’s to all the independent women who use those degrees.

Here’s to all the independent women who don’t.

Here’s to all the independent women who chose a field that is dominated by men and persevere despite the challenges of being one of the only women around.

Here’s to all the independent women who are the only frum person at their place of employment and become the de facto ambassador for Judaism.

Here’s to all the independent women who drive cross-country for conferences, who wish they could stop to help stranded motorists but don’t, because safety.

Here’s to all the independent women who didn’t see a school choice that worked for their child and created a new option out of nothing but dreams and grit.

Here’s to all the independent women who follow their dreams when they have been told their dreams will never work.

Here’s to all the independent women who trek across the world and fill those around them with love and awe.

Here’s to all the independent women who make public breastfeeding a normal thing.

Here’s to all the independent women who write articles expressing their opinions.

Here’s to all the independent women who go to simchos by themselves and bravely make conversation with people they’ve never met before.

Here’s to all the independent women who fly internationally with small children.

Here’s to all the independent women who help those mothers flying with small children.

Here’s to all the independent women who start and run their own businesses.

Here’s to all the independent women who are single parents.

Here’s to all the independent women who are single.

Here’s to all the independent women who insist on defining themselves and not letting others do so for them.

Here’s to all the independent women who see a need in the community and move to fill it.

Here’s to all the independent women who financially support their families.

Here’s to all the independent women who financially support themselves.

Here’s to all the independent women who stay true to themselves¬†despite social pressures to conform.

Here’s to all the independent women who acknowledge the social pressures and choose to conform when it’s not at odds with their values.

Here’s to all the independent women who love and adhere to tradition yet seek to improve their community.

Here’s to all the independent women who care despite the overwhelming amount of tragedy in the world.

Here’s to all the independent women who seek to improve themselves even when surrounded by stagnation.

Here’s to all the independent women who refuse to accept the word “impossible.”

Here’s to all the independent women who combine independence and aidelkeit.

Here’s to all the independent women who see the good in difficult people.

Here’s to all the independent women who persevere despite physical limitations.

Here’s to all the independent women who struggle with ill health and diminished energy.

Here’s to all the independent women who do not have a supportive family.

Here’s to all the independent women who are the support in their family.

Here’s to all the independent women whose life turned out so differently than they imagined and who make the choice to accept this life and to thrive despite adversity.

Here’s to all the independent women who make the world an incredible place to live in.

Here’s to all the independent women who…