This month, on March 8th, International Women's Day took place. This day not only makes me so proud to be a woman, but makes me proud to know and be surrounded by such amazing women in my life. This entire month, I have been reflecting on the things the women I know have taught me about being not only amazing women, but being amazing humans. This is an open letter to five beautiful women (amongst multitudes) in my life, thanking them for all they teach and inspire in me.
Mom, words can't even describe how thankful I am for you. You and dad are the driving force behind everything in my life. Growing up, I am blessed to say that I was cared for by the most amazing mother: A mom who cut up cheerios for my sister and I when we were babies to make 101% certain we would't choke, a mom who waited outside our preschool classroom because Julie would get sick everyday from the woes of learning the alphabet and colors, a mom who is interested in every aspect of my life and has always made me feel like even my biggest and wildest dreams were in arm's reach, a mom who loves me when I don't have the strength to do it myself. You're a mom who teaches me that being a mother isn't someone's entire being, but just another facet of being a strong woman. From all the successful golf outings to the famous pizza days you planned and organized, you have shown me over and over again how hard work, dedication, passion, and a kind disposition can move mountains. You have not only moved mountains in my life, but have prompted me to start moving my own. I'm proud to call you my mom.
Gran (almost always referred to as Gran next-door because you live next-door to our house), every time I think of you, a feeling of warmth spreads in my chest. Growing up, you'd come to our door every night to eat dinner with us, and I'd sprint from wherever I was to be engulfed in the huge bear hugs you'd give. You were the first person to hold Julie and me in your arms at the same time. To me, that image is more than just a picture in a frame residing in your living room: It is a symbol of the love you have for the two of us. A love that, like the challenging task of holding two chunky babies in each arm, is strong and assured. A love that makes me feel like no matter what happens in life, I will always have those arms to fall back in. You have given me so many things that I cannot begin to thank you for, but the one thing I am most grateful for is your love of family. Family is your top priority, and so is mine. Thank you for being such a beautiful, kind, warm, and witty person. I hope I become even a fraction of the woman, mother, and grandmother you are. I'm proud to call you my grandma.
Joey, you are Julie and my best friend. You are someone I can't imagine my life without. Well... actually I can. It'd be full of lonely 2 a.m. Wendy's adventures, it'd be beach days without Linda's uncrustables and our endless photoshoots, it'd contain no memories of all our high school tales and shared stories (even the cringy ones), and it'd be lacking someone who has become a person I consider family in my life. This last year, especially this last month, has been hard for you. Losing a grandparent is a loss that changes lives and affects not only people's minds but their hearts as well. I am so sorry for every unfortunate thing that has happened to you and your family this year, and I wish I could stop the pain that comes from all of the loss and hardship. But these downfalls are a part of life, and although they cannot be stopped, by me or anyone else, they have a way of strengthening those who are able to pick up the pieces and make it through the darkness. Your strength, courage, and poise in these times have truly made me even more proud to call you my friend. I'm sure your grandparents feel the same way.
I'll love you all always and forever,