Sunday, May 8, 2011

Strong Women

There are many amazing women in my life who have shaped me into the mother I am- all of the good I have in me comes from them: I don't know where all the bad parenting I have comes from....As I started my list of women who have influenced me it continued to grow and grow. Once I hit the 100 women mark, I knew that this could potentially be a very, very long post. I opted to just highlight a few courageous women in my life who I want to be like and who I gather the most knowledge and examples from.

The first on the list is of course, my own amazing mother. Do you know Barbara Mann? If you do, you know she is a pretty incredible mother, wife, friend, daughter, and example. She has always had a strong testimony of being a daughter of God, and I think that makes it possible for her to be such a great mother. She has always nurtured and taught with love, kindness, and affection. She is one of those mothers who seems to do everything "right". She cooks, cleans, works, serves, listens, and devotes countless hours to her children. I love her dearly, and am so grateful for her influence in my life. Did I mention my kids are SO LUCKY to have her as a grandmother, my friends have even commented that they would like to be adopted by my parents.
My Beautiful Mother

Another one of my favorite "Mother's" has never birthed children, nor does she raise any. My sister Karyn lives in NYC- she is surrounded by friends and spends her days working long hours, and her weekends doing things I only dream of (traveling the world, going to concerts, celebrity fundraisers, The Tony's, Broadway shows, and the list goes on and on). And though she doesn't have children of her own- she has influenced families in a positive way more than most women. She has worked in the Social Services field for over a decade and is a fantastic advocate for children. I have seen her fight judges, the foster system, and drug addicted parents to protect the welfare of children. She is the best aunt my kids could ever ask for, she is so good about birthdays and holidays and will spend hours on the phone talking to Avery and getting to know her. She is kind, generous, and loves unconditionally. I am humbled that she is able to help "raise" my children and influence them.
My Kids can't get enough of Aunt Karyn. 

These days I seem to be spending more time with my closest friends than I do anybody else. Grateful does not do justice to how I feel about my friends. I can't imagine my life being as happy or fulfilling without them in it. In high school I had a pretty incredible group of friends and I couldn't image that in my 30's I would be able to find those same connections. Yet, it is not only possible, but as life gets more complicated my friends have continued to lift me physically and spiritually. My wish for all the women in my life is that they could be surrounded with the caliber of women that I am on a daily basis. I pray that I can be as good a friend as the ones I have been blessed with. I don't know what I did to deserve to have these influences in my life and I strive everyday to be worthy of these great friendships.
Madison High School "Friends" class of '95

Some of my "favorite" friends from our annual Favorite Things Party. 

The last amazing women I would like to post about is my ten year old daughter. Avery is not a mother (and if I am able to channel the mothering skills of the other women, she won't be mother for at LEAST another decade)! But she is a great example to me, and is the reason that I am a mother. She was not only my first born but my only daughter. Through her eyes I see the future of women everywhere. I have always believed that women were strong and capable, but now there is a passion in me to make sure that women are treated with respect and kindness. Avery is so tender hearted and confident at the same time. She is friendly to everybody and wants to always make sure that others are treated fairly. She is excited to grow up, but also still loves to be a little girl. Avery is one of my heroes. I am grateful that Heavenly Father has allowed me to raise his precious child during this earth life.

As I look at this list, I feel like my words come close to what my heart is feeling. I love the strong women in my life and today I reflect on one of my favorite quotes. 

Strong Women: 
May We Know Them, 
May We Be Them
May We Raise Them. 

Happy Mother's Day to all Strong Women.