When you are raised by strong women you learn a few things. You learn the subtle differences, the love that fills a room, respect, maturity.
These are a few things I value from being raised by strong women: my mom, grandma, aunts, cousins. All of you are strong to me. Look how far you all have come, look how far you have yet to go. You are a bunch of strong women and you need to know that no matter what, I thank you and wish you all the happiness in the world.
You learn that independence is more than a word. There isn’t anyone that can save or take care of you the way you can for yourself. You have learned to lead and be the example of a happy, full life. You learn the value of cooking, building a home, raising a family, doing the dishes – all after coming home after a long days work. You learn that you are Super Woman, not the face on the comic book.
You learn that no matter how much you think you know about love, she will always know more. No matter how many generations separate you, how many rules have changed, even if her choices don’t match up with yours, if she doesn’t approve of the person that you have chosen to spend your life with you better fucking listen to her. She knows what she is saying, she has seen it all not only raising her own daughters but her daughter’s daughters. She doesn’t want to see you with a broken heart and will beat down every door that gets in her way to keep that from happening.
Unconditional love. You hear about it but you don’t really know what it feels like until you become a parent yourself. You have watched your mom, your grandmother, your aunts sacrifice everything and anything for your own health and well-being. You watched as she never complained or appeared tired. You saw her suffer with a smile on her face and her shoes tightly laced. She was happiest when she was giving rather than receiving. She taught you something you will never find anywhere else.
Being a girl is hard. Growing up into a woman is even harder. You watched while she struggled to pay the bills, rent, and keep food on the table. You saw how her words were always taken second, her opinions discounted. Even when times are tough and she was trying to be serious, her words were taken lightly and brushed aside. She showed you first-hand that the things in this life won’t kill you, they make you stronger.
As you watch, you learn. It’s simple. She taught you how to be a better woman and mother. The women that raised you are the ones who showed you what it really means to take care of an entire family. The hard work that they put into each and every member of their family and in turn, their extended family is tremendous – I still don’t know how you did it. She showed you how to love hard, kindness is a virtue, compassion builds us, and resilience wins in the end. She led by example, you will follow in her footsteps.
We all struggle with loving ourselves, no matter if we are girls or boys – men or women. She taught you the basics and continues to instill that loving yourself is important. You have learned how to walk away from the things and people who hurt you, the ones that hold you back. You have learned to keep walking forward no matter how many times you have been let down. You have learned how to hold your head up when everyone else is doubting you. She instilled in you that the grades you received, the jobs that let you go, the heartbreak, the bumps and bruises don’t define you; what does is all the times that you got back up and kept going.
Another struggle that we face, day-to-day, is patience. She taught you that as cloudy as the skies get, the storm will eventually pass. Tomorrow is always a new day, the outlook will always be a little brighter. You learn that you have to be patient with everything: life, little ones, timing, success, problems. Through patience you will find that strength she always talks about.
You learn to create your own happiness. Happiness will always be there when times get tough, even if it takes some time to find it. You can be happy even if the weight of the world and everyone you love is on your shoulders. There will always be something at the end of the day that you can smile about, you just have to look a little closer.
Thank you for teaching me a few things. Thank you for giving me these lessons on a daily basis and never giving up on me. I will never give up on you.