I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.
International Women's Day: Empower
International Women's Day Means We Should All Empower Each Other
I've been so blessed to be surrounded by strong women throughout my life.
My mom was a nurse for 33 years before she passed from breast cancer that had metastisized to her bones, and during much of those three decades, she was married to a recovering alcoholic who ultimately fell back off the wagon again after she died. There were fights between her and my father that could at best be described as vitriolic, but she was incredibly loyal and I don't doubt that she loved my father. There were many times where she ended the night in tears because of some sort of dispute she and my father had had.
I learned a lot during those formative years. I saw how much my mother carried whether or not my father was sober or whether or not he was making life a bit difficult, because he was, in fact, a moody man at times. All of what my mother had to deal with showed me how to push through the tough times that I myself had endured at various points during my life.
I'm also lucky to have the sister I do. She has fought for everything she believes in and wants to do in her life, and through her, I have learned about the importance of being steadfast and staying the course when you want to achieve your goals, whatever those goals might be. She's gone to school on three separate occasions to land on her current career as a psychotherapist, and she's even managed to obtain her master's degree as she continues to work hard towards upgrading her qualifications regularly and maintain a successful business.
I'm very blessed to have the wonderful friends that I have. They awe me with their patience, their brilliance under fire, and their grace. In spite of their own "stuff" - and ultimately, we all have our own "stuff" - they are focused on lifting each other up, being there for their friends and families, and just being really incredible. They all come from different backgrounds: several are teachers at various stages, with a lot working with kindergarten-aged children with various medical and cognitive needs; some are stay-at-home moms who make their work look effortless as they drive their kids to various events and patiently navigate their way through the various parental pitfalls we all are victims of from time to time; and some are business owners whose children have grown up and gone off to college, university or trade school as they themselves try to figure out what this means for them as moms. I admire their strength, their courage, and their tenacity, and I hope to one day possess even a tenth of their magic.
Finally, there are my own two young women whom I am trying to raise into smart, savvy adult women. While I continue to try and teach them to be good people and to do what they're asked to do when they're asked to do it - like folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher or, heaven forbid, getting along for longer than five minutes at a time - I also continue to learn. I've learned that I still need to work on my patience or to work on how I explain things to them, because sometimes what makes sense in my head doesn't always make sense when it comes out of my face. I've learned to sometimes let go of my serious side and really let my goofy flag fly, and I've learned the value of a good snuggle when you're not feeling like life is fair. These are moments that slip by too quickly. I've hopefully helped my girls learn to embrace who they are, regardless of gender expression or identity, and to accept others where they're at instead of expecting others to change based on their own ideas about how things should be.
They are becoming strong women in their own right, and they are already strong because of the various things they've learned to deal with in their young lives. I can only hope that in the years to come, I can continue to celebrate the individuals they are become and watch as they honor the women that have loved and supported them over the years. I look forward to the time when they discover their own tribe and learn to celebrate who they've become as women.
That's what women should do - keep lifting each other up.