Friday, March 8, 2013

Thanks to the women in my life.

Its International Women's Day and while I had plans to post about something different.  Well this just feels right.  So here's a photo tribute to the important women in my life.  These are in no particular order of importance obviously.

Cady (M) and Lesley (R).  These two ladies are the best momma friends a gal can have.  There is nothing like having great friends help you through the tough times as well as help you celebrate the joys of parenting.  It was just by happenstance that they came into my life.  I showed up one day at a parenting group's meetup at Cady's house.  That day it happened to just be Lesley and Cady and I find it joyfully ironic that the first two people I met from this group of awesome parents became two of my closest friends.
Amy.  She and I have been friends since I was 16 and she was 15, I believe.  Barry at the far R is the friend I wrote about here.  Amy is the epitome of strength.  She's tough but loving.  I don't know that I have ever met another friend so willing to drop everything to help out one of her friends or family members.  We are probably about as polar opposite as you can get, but I know those differences nor time and distance will ever diminish our friendship.   Which reminds me I miss her and would love to have a cup of coffee and chat with her.  I'll have to see if I can make that happen soon.    
Dagny and Kelly.  They were my best friends from high school and just about the only friends I had for a long time.  They made high school bearable and we share many memories of laughter together.  I have never had a ton of friends but I have always had a few GREAT friends and these gals are right up there on the list.  Dagny is a beautiful dreamer with a huge heart and soul.  Kelly is a down to earth tell it like it is gal who you can always trust to have your back when it matters.
Inês Almeida.  Normally I would not include someone I had never met in real life in a post such as this but I feel like Inês is more than just someone I barely know through the internet.  She inspires me with her undying passion for etching out space for our children to enjoy childhoods without limitations.  Several years back I stumbled upon her page and instantly felt like I found a community, a safe space to work through my concerns about raising a daughter in this world.  In that time I've enjoyed a few Skype conversations with this awesome woman and just this week she graced my class with a Skype presentation.  I may never have met her in person but I consider her a friend nonetheless.  One of these days I will get to sit down with her in person and tell her how thankful I am for the work that she does for my daughter and all the children of the world. 

Johanna Brenner.  She was my adviser for my Thesis when I was getting my Masters in Sociology at PSU.  I first met her when I took her course in my last year of my undergraduate program.  Let me tell you, she was one of the few people in my life to ever push me out of my comfort zone.  She told me that from my papers she knew I had something to say and that she wanted me to speak up more.  I had spent a lifetime trying to be as small and quiet as possible because I felt like I had nothing to add that was worthy.  It mattered that she thought that she wanted to hear my voice.  She is an amazing force and I know for a fact that she has touched so many lives and continues to do so. 
Mom.  She didn't raise me but she shaped who I am today nonetheless.  We sometimes have a difficult time relating to each other.  Age and culture separate us and we struggle to understand each other.  BUT I know she loves me and I know she has done and does do the best that she can.  I admire the woman she is, coming to a new country, learning a new language and new way of living, but etching out her corner of the world and by all accounts doing it successfully.
Grandma Betty.  Another enigma but just as influential in my life.  Friends would wonder at the way I talked to her on the phone, telling me that Grams and I sounded like friends; that they never talked to their grandmas quite like I talked to mine.  Grandma was funky and an oddity and craft lady.   I swear that I owe my love of crafting to this woman.  My childhood memories consist of picking through her button and fabric stash to whip up childlike creations.  She always had a WIP (work in progress).  I hope she has found her peace with Gramps in the great beyond.
Tina.  This is an old photo but it includes her entire wonderful family so its fitting.  Tina and I met in the Masters Program and she was and still is an incredible support person for me.  I wanted a woman to support me during my birth because it felt right and who better to choose than someone I consider to be one of the best mothers I have ever met.  Testimony to her great motherhood is her two daughters, Robin (L) and Nicole (R), who are also incredible women in their own right.  I knew I could care for a young baby but I was fearful about being able to raise a daughter in this world, but then I look at Tina's children and they give me hope.  If Aria is even half as wonderful as these two young ladies are, she will be a powerful force of good in this world.  I cannot thank Tina enough for being there for me when I need her.

Shellie.  I hear stories of horror stories involving Mother in laws and I think to myself that I must be one of the lucky ones because I cannot think of a better mother in law and grandma than Shellie.  My husband is a lucky man to have such a beautiful and giving mother.  I know he appreciates her and I do as well. I don't know what we did before she moved to Portland, but when I graduate with my doctoral degree its going to be in large part because of Shellie.  I am fortunate to have her in my life and I am thankful that Aria has a grandma who is willing to spend so much time with her. She is one of the most generous souls that I know. 
My big sis.  From the day I was born I had a big sister to look out for me.  From the stories I hear she declared that I was HER baby from day one.  She saved me from the disastrous New Kids on the Block fiasco by introducing the Beatles to me.  Rather than memories of fawning over Joey and Danny, instead I have memories of fawning over Paul and John and I have Janet to thank for that.  She encouraged and supported my love of reading by letting me borrow and gifting me books.  To this day, she still is one of the best gifters of books that I know.   She is about to have her own little girl soon and I am excited to not only have a niece but to get to witness my sister become the wonderful mother that  I know she already is.
And finally but certainly not least Aria.  My amazing, brilliant, beautiful, imaginative, and passionate little daughter who shows me everyday that this world is a good place to live after all.  I never knew the fierceness of love until I set eyes upon her little inquisitive face.  Her passion and determination make her challenging to parent sometimes but they also make her the awesome little person that she is.   May she know and be surrounded by as many wonderful, inspiring, and supportive women as her mother has been and currently is.
Wow!  I am realizing how much I am surrounded by glorious, beautiful, and loving women!  How did I ever get so lucky?  I don't know but I am sure grateful for these ladies.  So THANK YOU to each and every one, both the living and the ones who have passed on to the great beyond.  Which women are important in your life? 



  1. This is such a beautiful post. It definitely makes me think of all of the strong and wonderful women who have been and are in my life. Thank you so much for sharing and reminding me how grateful I am to each of them for being who they are.

    1. Thanks, Krystal! It was a good exercise for me. I didn't realize how many great women surround and support me. <3