If it’s true that it takes a village to raise a child, then surely that truth carries throughout life. Surely good mothers can rally around each other, impart their best qualities, and thereby nourish more women to help more children live fuller, healthier, happier lives. A cross-pollination of sorts, you know?
I am so grateful for my own Mom, for my Mother in Law, for other women in my big beautiful family, and for the dazzling array of female friends in my life who collectively have nourished my mind and heart. They each and all have helped me see the world in new ways. They have helped to refine me, inspire my dreams, and put muscle behind my efforts. I am sure you would say the same about the women in your life. We all are products of our communities. We all help each other evolve and grow, and it’s beautiful.
The woman I was yesterday introduced me to the woman I am today; which makes me very excited about meeting the woman I will become tomorrow.
From my own sweet Mom, among many other passions, I inherited a love of gardening. She taught me slowly, by osmosis even, a host of growing lessons without ever calling them lessons. She passed along a love of recycling found objects and furnishing a home on a shoestring. She taught me that cooking at home, in my own kitchen, is better than eating at any restaurant (except maybe really good Tex Mex) and that leftovers can be delicious and fun. Because of her I crave healthy food and love to be outside. Imagination, I learned first from my Mom, is vital to our well being, and boredom is not an option for any thinking person.
From Judy, Handsome’s Mom, I learned to pray. I learned to cover my children in prayer and anoint them. She taught me to trust God with my babies, with our home, with everything. Judy taught me how to seek after miracles and lay my hands on them.
My sister Angela is younger than me but has taught me plenty. She proves the incomparable power of unconditional love. Her children are her glow and life force.
My little brother’s amazing wife Halee is one of my most favorite people on this planet. As a mother she exudes peace and calm. Over the years she and I have had deep discussions about the power of positivity, and really her life is proof of it. She as incredible inner strength and lends it to me regularly. (PS: They are expecting their second baby, yay!!)
Marci, my very best girlfriend, personifies the importance of education and hard work. She sets a high bar for her children and supports them firmly every step of the way. She is also one of the most fiercely protective mothers you will ever meet, so much so that it even makes me feel safe, haha!
My friend Meredith reminds me to celebrate the uniqueness of each of my children. She aims her gaze away from herself, toward whatever her children are looking at, and I love that. I am now in a chapter with Jocelyn that allows me to do that more than ever, and it is quite a gift. I’m thankful for Meredith’s example.
Brittany celebrates wildness. She prizes a little feral beauty in her young kittens, and she clearly sees them as dangerous, powerful individuals. She whispers a thrilling kind of freedom into the world, and I would be so sad without her voice.
Deb is a woman I have known since she was a teenager and I was little girl. She was my Mom’s midwife when my little sister Genny was born, and over the years Deb has been a strong, happy role model to me. She promotes whole-person wellness, good music on repeat, granola, chamomile tea, and playing outside. She spread her wings early in life and has encouraged her children to do the same. We are reconnected now as my own daughter is spreading her wings, and that has been so comforting.
Heather is my Canadian blogging friend. She and I became acquainted during a dark valley in my motherhood journey, and she helped me see the light. She helped me keep alive that spark of hope for good adult relationships with my daughters, hope for the truth to come out slowly and safely. Now she helps me celebrate good news over and over, and I appreciate her so much! All of that, plus she is just one of the most industrious and creative women ever to walk the earth.
Christy is a friend I would have been lucky to make about twenty years earlier, except I understand now that timing in life is perfect. Just leave it alone. She is an avid champion for positive body image, healthy habits, and joy. Unbridled joy!! But if I write much more about this woman she might block me on Facebook.
Tracy is a book club girlfriend who is devoted to her family. Her style is to be active with them and be silly and play. Play play play. She is a serious soul with a very un-serious side that I adore. She reminds me to play, and I love that.
My drop dead gorgeous cousin (she’s actually my second cousin but so what) Jen is a whole other kind of playful. She is the kind of mom who worries privately but somehow transmits only confidence and zen. She absorbs the darkness for her people and does some kind of magic that makes it possible for her to only emit light. She is dry witted, fun, sexy, smart, and very go-with-the-flow, and it’s all so magnetic.
I met Trisha through Marci and am so glad we are friends. She is a first-time mom with great old-time values. She is deliberate in filling her toddler Avery’s time with valuable stuff, lessons and face time, but no screen time. She wants her daughter to grow up unencumbered by technology addiction, and what a great reminder to us all. This is only a snapshot of what she offers the world, but to me it’s vital. It’s all about carpe diem, right? Yes.
My Aunt Marion has imparted to me a wealth of wisdom and good habits. More than I can encapsulate here. What stands out as I write this is her attention to nesting and home keeping. She allowed me to house sit for her when I was about 19 years old, during a time her house was on the market to be sold. She left clear instructions to keep every bed made, every bathroom tidy and clean, and the kitchen shining. I was not to leave the house with so much as one glass in the sink, she said happily, because a realtor might bring a prospective buyer to view the house at any time. The thing is, her house has always been clean and beautiful. This was nothing special for her. But that short week of keeping her home up to her standards made a deep impression on me. It’s probably why I find it physically impossible to go to bed now with so much as a glass in the kitchen sink, and I never leave the farm with unmade beds or messy bathrooms.
I could write for days about dozens of other women, and just as many men, who challenge and inspire me to be better. These are the women who came to my heart today. I was laying outside, just kind of luxuriating after a long, happy lunch with local family, and the warmest feeling of gratitude washed up over me. Warm, vibrating gratitude for the influence these women have been. For the contributions they continue to make to my life. I hope they each know they are appreciated.
Who has enriched your motherhood? What qualities are you thankful to see growing in your life because someone else planted a seed?
Happy late Mother’s Day to all of my friends. My wish is that you feel more hope than pain. That you are standing in more light than dark. And that you trust deep in your bones the trans-formative power of Love and imagination.
Now excuse me while I have dessert for dinner.
“Empowered women empower women.”