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To the incredible women and mentors in my life!

To the incredible women and mentors in my life!

 

Happy International Women’s Day to my incredible tribe of strong and resilient women!

I feel so fortunate to have been surrounded by such strong women role models and mentors. As a child, my grandmothers figured prominently in my life. Both self-sacrificing, strong, and determined women and mothers. Both worked outside of the home and were often the primary breadwinners when women traditionally remained home as caretakers. Both suffered significant losses: children, partners, siblings, parents, and friends. Both approached life with unabiding optimism, hope, and courage, always putting their families above their own needs and wants.  Although they were very different my grandmothers taught me to be fierce, independent, and self-reliant.

My mom was one of those perfect moms. She sewed amazing Halloween costumes, curled my hair into perfect ringlets, had warm cookies and milk waiting after school, and gave my brother and me the right amount of freedom and guidance. She, like other mothers, raised her voice but never her hand when she was frustrated by our antics and behaviors and loved my brother and me unconditionally. She nurtured our passions and gave us the confidence to believe we could accomplish anything. When I was 13 and my brother 11, my mom returned to work as a nurse. She navigated her roles in nursing with those of mother and wife. I saw the difficulties my mother faced balancing the high standards she set for herself in both arenas. She still took on the lion’s share of household duties and child-rearing while my dad worked two jobs on shifts to ensure that my brother and I had all we needed. My mom taught me the challenges of trying to have it all….a perfect home and family and a demanding career. She sacrificed her wants and needs for ours without bitterness or regret!

Most of my teachers were men, except for my early elementary years. I cannot remember having a woman high school teacher except my typing (yes typing), art, music, or home economics teacher. I remember those early elementary teachers Mrs. Kerr, Mrs. Klein, Mrs. Hunter, and Mrs. Goodwin. These women were so patient, kind, nurturing, and compassionate. I remember the commitment and desire these women made to all students’ success even when it was fashionable to tuck those students away in “special” classrooms. These women showed me kindness, compassion, acceptance, and belonging.

Thirty years ago, when I entered into my Master’s program at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, I met an incredible woman mentor, Dr. Kathleen Benson. Kath was beautiful, kind, enthusiastic, and passionate about education. She truly wanted to make a difference for future generations by developing passionate, dedicated, and student-centered educators. Kath taught me it is okay to have high standards for others if you hold those same standards. She helped me see the importance of raising strong women like her daughters Carrie and Maggie. Dr. Benson encouraged me to fight so that women can have the same opportunities as men! She showed me the power of your voice and how to use it to change others’ outcomes and never back down from a fight that is worth winning!

Today I have an incredible tribe of women!

My mother-in-law Diane has always been there to help me navigate this crazy life as a hockey mom and wife.

My supportive and loving sisters-in-law Janet, Kim, Kelly, and Kristin.

My strong, determined, and fierce nieces Leah, Avery, Kendall, and Gwendolyn.

My best friend Catherine, who calls me on my shit, lifts me up when I need it, and always, always believes in me!

My Sidecar Rally group: Bridget, Lindsay, Francesca, Deb, and Jolene, who arrived right when I needed you the most!

Countless colleagues, friends, and acquaintances that have surrounded me with strength, support, and brilliance!

Today I celebrate all of you!  I would not be standing here today with confidence,  wisdom, and bravery if not for you!

‘Here’s to the strong women.  May we know them. May we raise them. May we be them” ~Author unknown

Happy International Women’s Day to the INCREDIBLE women in my life!

 

 

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