I’m not sure if men really understand this, but I don’t think there’s a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better!
And that’s fine. We don’t want easy. But these last few years have been harder than they needed to be. It’s all the little things — that price at the pump you just can’t believe, the grocery bills that just get bigger; all those things that used to be free, like school sports, are now one more bill to pay. It’s all the little things that pile up to become big things. And the big things — the good jobs, the chance at college, that home you want to buy, just get harder. Everything has become harder.
We’re too smart to know there aren’t easy answers. But we’re not dumb enough to accept that there aren’t better answers.
And that is where this boy I met at a high school dance comes in. His name is Mitt Romney and you really should get to know him.
I could tell you why I fell in love with him — he was tall, laughed a lot, was nervous — girls like that, it shows the guy’s a little intimidated — and he was nice to my parents but he was really glad when my parents weren’t around. That’s a good thing. And he made me laugh.
I am the granddaughter of a Welsh coal miner who was determined that his kids get out of the mines. My dad got his first job when he was six years old, in a little village in Wales called Nantyffyllon, cleaning bottles at the Colliers Arms. When he was 15, dad came to America. In our country, he saw hope and an opportunity to escape from poverty. He moved to a small town in the great state of Michigan. There, he started a business — one he built himself, by the way.
He raised a family. And he became mayor of our town.
My dad would often remind my brothers and me how fortunate we were to grow up in a place like America. He wanted us to have every opportunity that came with life in this country — and so he pushed us to be our best and give our all.
Inside the houses that lined the streets of our town, there were a lot of good fathers teaching their sons and daughters those same values. I didn’t know it at the time, but one of those dads was my future father-in-law, George Romney.
Mitt’s dad never graduated from college. Instead, he became a carpenter. He worked hard, and he became the head of a car company, and then the governor of Michigan.
When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together. I was an Episcopalian. He was a Mormon.
We were very young. Both still in college. There were many reasons to delay marriage, and you know? We just didn’t care. We got married and moved into a basement apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, and ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses. Our dining room table was a fold-down ironing board in the kitchen. Those were very special days.
Then our first son came along. All at once I’m 22 years old, with a baby and a husband who’s going to business school and law school at the same time, and I can tell you, probably like every other girl who finds herself in a new life far from family and friends, with a new baby and a new husband, that it dawned on me that I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into.
That was 42 years ago. Now we have five sons and 18 grandchildren and I’m still in love with that boy I met at a high school dance. (Continued)