Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shakespeare at Large

Most of the time I would describe my attempts to pass on influential words of wisdom to my children as "spitting into the wind," or, on a good day, "speaking into the abyss." This is especially true when those words have even the faintest whiff of a Feminist Message.

That's why I am now about to share what may be my most Proud Maternal Moment. Last year, my now 11-year-old daughter picked Elizabeth I as her research subject for a school assignment. That was very cool, and it was one of the rare times we could agree on what makes for an interesting topic. Yesterday, for example, she delivered a lengthy speech on why Justin Bieber is a fraud while Taylor Swift is a genius. (Okay, I actually found that pretty interesting.) On the cover of her report, she put one of Elizabeth's most famous quotes from a speech she gave to her troops at Tilbury. She probably didn't say it, actually, but it's always been part of her popular image:

"I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a King."

This year, they wrote about their names: how they got them, what they mean, the story behind it all. My daughter wrote about how her last name means "King" in Scottish. Imagine the geeky tears of joy I shed when I heard her assert loudly and clearly as she read it at school assembly:

"Sure, I'm a girl, but I can have the spirit of a King."

Rock on, girlfriend. If I can't get through to you directly, I'm glad Queen Bess did.

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