For Elizabeth, this year
I learned how to be a feminist from my mom. And so, shortly after I received my first issue of Exponent II, I realized she needed to read it too. I gave her a subscription to the magazine for her birthday that year, and she loved it–not only for the content but also for the delight of finding that women she knew were writing in it.
Bingo, I thought. Birthday presents are sorted for years now. This is hard only because my mom’s birthday is in December, and we try really hard not to combine her birthday presents with her Christmas presents. But when I went to renew her subscription the following December, it turned out she had already done so.
And that’s how I began giving Exponent II subscriptions to women I know. That first year, it was a friend in my ward who had just discovered Mormon feminism and was eager to read everything she could get her hands on. The next year, it was a friend who was leaving the liberal haven of Massachusetts for the Bible Belt. Each year I’ve chosen someone new, given them a year-long subscription to the magazine, and enjoyed their enjoyment–because every one of them has read the magazine and loved it. Most of them, like my mom, now pay for their own subscriptions.
This year, I’ll be sending a subscription to my friend Elizabeth. She used to live near me, but then her husband found a teaching job in California and she’s become yet another friend who lives too far away to spend time with. Like me, she’s artsy and creative and just slightly off her rocker (though she got more of the artsy and I got more of the off my rocker). We got to be close while we lived in the same town–she watched my kids regularly, I threw a birthday party for her son (see picture–each kid made a stuffed robot), we shared Thanksgiving for a few years (there’s a tale there about a deep-fried turkey), and we talked often about figuring out who we really are and what God wants for us.
We’ve lost touch since she moved across the country, but I reconnected with her this summer when I tagged along for a conference my husband was attending in San Diego. Why she’s never subscribed to the magazine I don’t know, but I’ll bet it has more to do with wrangling kids, being the volunteer art teacher at her local elementary school, and not having lots of extra time than it does with a lack of desire to read the magazine and feel connected to the Exponent community. Every time I get a new issue and sit down to read it, I connect with another woman’s experiences and feel the warm embrace of sisterhood around my shoulders. I hope she does too.