It’s International Women’s Day and Women’s History month, the time of year when we should take stock of how women are faring around the world and realize how much work there is left to be done. But we should also celebrate the achievements of those among and take time to appreciate all of the amazing women who’ve touched in lives in a myriad of ways.
When I started thinking about all of the women who’ve made in an impact in my life (not just spiritually), I realized that there are a hell of a lot of them.
So in the spirit of this day, I will briefly try and say thank you to those women who have profoundly shaped my life. I say ‘try’ because I can never thank any of you enough.
To my Great Grandmother: thank you for showing me strength and determination.
To my Grandma Lehmann: thank you for filling me with love, kindness, laughter and joy. Thank you for nurturing me, taking care of me, raising me, and embracing me just as I am.
To my late Grandma Hamm: thank you for showing me confidence and fortitude, for showing me that women can be both strong and caring, that the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
To my Mom: I can never, ever say thank you enough for all you’ve done for me. Thank you for your never-ending well of patience, for loving me through all of my tears, fears and anger, and for supporting me no matter the cost. Thank you for worrying about me, for carrying me when I could not take care of myself, and for helping me find the way back when I was lost. Thank you for always coming to find me.
To my sister, Michelle: thank you for loving me even through the times when I’ve pushed you away. Thank you for being the big sister I should try to be more often for you, for showing me confidence, and for being more understanding towards me than I deserve.
To my aunts – Auntie Cindy, Auntie Natalie, Auntie Jennifer and Auntie Faye: thank you for your generosity of spirit, your kindness, your laughter and your wisdom.
To my Auntie Rita: thank you for listening, for your encouragement and for being my first best friend.
To my best friends – Jen, Jill and Kirstin – thank you for your honesty and for accepting me just as I am.
To the many ladies of my church family – Jackie, Karen, Sharon, Auntie Ev, Auntie Marj, Karen, Linda, Elsie M., Linda, Elsie, Karen, Kristy, Andrea and Carlamae – thank you for your support, encouragement, prayers and hugs, and for showing me what grace truly is.
To Pastor Cheryl: thank you for seeing me.
To Mrs. Knoll: thank you for showing me that girls can love sports.
To my music teachers – Audrey, Louella, Lynn and Rebecca: thank you for challenging me and pushing me to dig deeper, for teaching me how to express myself.
To Pat and Bev: thank you for your encouragement, your dedication and for caring.
To all of the foster mothers I worked with and know: thank you for showing me the true meaning of love.
To all of the girls I lived with at Luther College: thank you for helping me discover who I really am.
I love you all.