I know a lot of amazing women. Some of them were born into my family, and some have become my family by choice. Some I met at work, some I met at church and some I met through mutual acquaintances or networking. Some are single, and some are married; some are mothers; some work and some don’t. They are doctors, lawyers, professors, writers, waitresses, administrators, homemakers and everything in between. I am thankful to know every one of them.
Some of these women have beat cancer. Some of them are grappling with cancer – or other physical infirmities – right now. Some of them have survived abusive relationships. Some of them have been in jail or filed bankruptcy. Some have buried a child. Some have created businesses from nothing, and many are raising magnificent children. Some of them have exes who are uninvolved, so they are raising and paying for these children on their own. Some of them grew up in poverty, but they worked hard to become the first in their families to attend college.
Stories upon stories of women achieving great things, women overcoming insurmountable obstacles, and women thriving despite discrimination and abuse. Women who refused to be silenced or play the victim. Women who did not waste their energy on retribution but who invested in themselves instead. Women who refused to choose between raising children and changing the world and did both. Women who did not allow society to define them, but who defined themselves. I love these stories, and I love these women. All of them are strong, intelligent, and generous. They share their knowledge, their connections and their time. They offer support, a cup of tea, a shoulder to cry on or a hug. They celebrate with me when I win, and console me when I lose. They advise, pray for, encourage, and inspire me.
These women make me want to be a better mother, a better writer, a better friend, and a better human. They make me want to wring the life out of each day so that I have no regrets. They remind me to be relentless in pursuit of my purpose. They remind me that an extra ten pounds does not devalue me and I can be awesome in my sweatpants. They remind me that taking care of my family includes taking care of me. They hold me up, they push me forward, and they keep me afloat when I would otherwise drown. They accept me as I am, but they don’t buy my excuses because they want better for me than what I’ve been settling for. They love me enough to tell me the truth. Most days, they love me more than I love me.
If something were to happen to me, these women would take care of my children and my house. They would cook, clean, or be the first ones at my bedside. They always know what to do, and they are selfless enough to do it.
These women have saved my life, and they have made it a life worth saving.
Thank you, wonderful women, for your grace, empathy, and vulnerability. Thank you for sharing your struggles so I could know that I’m not the only one who struggles. Thank you for letting me see you cry so that I would know that it was safe for me to cry, too. Thank you for protecting me, reaching out to me, knowing my crazy and loving me anyway. Thank you for teaching me to love myself. Thank you for the howling laughter, and for pushing me out of the nest so that I could fly. Thank you for believing that I could fly when I wasn’t sure that I could.
Ladies, I am humbled by your accomplishments, and I am grateful to be walking through this life with you beside me.
Do you know someone that you admire, or that has changed your life for the better? Have you told them?