Unfortunately, I was not able to participate in the International Women’s Day. I had planned to stay home from work, but prior commitments prevented that from happening. So, to show solidarity to those celebrating today, I’d like to highlight the amazing women in my family who have inspired me.
From the time I was little, my great-grandmother Harriet gifted me with her sweetness, her complete devotion to her family. The soft folds of her wrinkled arms peeking out of her dressing gown would pull me tight to her doughy breast the moment I walked into her little gingerbread house. Closing my eyes, I can envision the davenport, with her shaggy miniature dog-of-some-sort snuggled in the corner. The scents from her backyard flower garden drifted into the cozy kitchen, where we inhaled the gooey, homemade cinnamon rolls. Contentment is the only feeling I ever associate with those yearly visits.
My sister will always be the woman who knows me best, buddies for life. She must’ve gotten all the organized, logical, and skinny genes in our family, because I have none of them. Luckily, she loves my creative, compassionate qualities, so together, we can take on anything. We both love to laugh, and she taught me how to use this joyous exercise to manage the challenges life brings our way. Even though she is the youngest of my siblings, I can always depend on her to take control of difficult situations. She’s my hero.
I thank my beautiful mom for being the image I look to as a teacher, wife, and mom. She overcame a difficult childhood, one that stories cannot really describe, to become one of the best teachers I have ever seen. It never surprised me when friends that had her in class proclaimed her as their favorite teacher. She understood the importance of igniting student learning with creative, relevant projects back when lectures were the mainstay in public education. Her strength continues to guide me as she handles the loss of her husband and friends. While I tend lean to the dramatic end of the coping spectrum, she calmly reacts to her trials with a confidence that the future will be better, presenting me with an adult option for surviving life’s plate.
I honor these three women and dozens of other friends, colleagues, and family members who have modeled strength, integrity, and compassion. I hope they know their impact on other women, inspiring generations with their actions.