Who helped me struggle onto my chubby toddler feet. Who helped me spell out my first big word (dinosaur). Who helped me learn to tell time, even though every other kid in the class magically seemed to already know this. Who heard me whine and complain about training bras. Who saw my sometimes snotty-faced pre-teen bad attitude and didn’t let it define their entire perception of me. Thank you God, for the women who let me be a child. Who protected me from the reality of the world with all its harshness. The women who were my teachers and my role models and for Oprah, because she’s fantastic.
Thank you God, for their stories of strength and valor – If I can be half the woman my mother is, I don’t need that prince, shining armor or not. But thanks mom, for teaching me that I can have him without needing him. That I can love without desperation, that I can thrive and support and give without counting and scheming and whining. Thank you for teaching me love.
Thank you for the women who shared the stories of childbirth, or even more trying: child-rearing, stories of loss and of love and of pain and of beauty. Thank you for the strong cancer-survivors, for the ‘have your breasts cut off in a world that defines women by their beauty’ bravehearts. Thank you for the men that have supported them, definitely, but thank you God, for the women.
Thank you for the mother that fed me, that clothed me, but most importantly, who loved me. Loved me when I was not worth it. Loved me when I was a bad investment. Thank you for giving her the strength to scream right back and because there were hard truths I needed to hear, and thank you for giving her enough heart to welcome me back into her arms. Thank you for all of the mothers who raised all of the imperfect-beautiful people that I know – and the woman who was left, the woman who was brave enough to leave, the woman who was brave enough to stay – thank you.
The men in my life, the ones who came, the ones who ran, the ones who loved – they taught me who I wanted to be. Knowing them taught me what I could say, what I could do, what I didn’t want to do, what I didn’t want to be. The women (I’ve been blessed to meet) taught me who I could be. They embraced who I was and told me the truth about which parts sucked. These women supported me. These women demanded better because they knew I was better. These women loved with their hearts open, their arms open, their minds open.
Thank you God, for the women.
Featured image: Little Joy, Mother and Child, Oil Painting of Baby