Thursday, April 8, 2010

Strong women in my life… March 16th, 2010 and everyday

Over the last week or two I kept hearing, “you can do this, you are a strong person, you have been through tough times, you know you can get through this” and they are right, I know I am strong, emotional and strong, but do I really need another challenge in my life? Am I not strong enough? Can’t someone else have a chance to get strong? Ahh if only my physical body could reflect how “strong” I am! My muscles would be huge!

And I know I can get through this; but only because of the people in my life. My life has been full of strong women. When I was a very young girl I remember meeting Nancy A., to me she was a strong woman. She was working in her career and raising a family, and very successful with both. I knew I wanted to grow up and have both, a career and a family.

My best girlfriends, Michelle, Anne, Ashlee, Meghan, Kristen, Laura, Jasmine, Tijana, and my cousin Laura are strong women. They are educated women, take care of their families, work fulltime jobs and support their families and friends. They travel across the country on their own to pursue dreams.
My “fertility” friends, for years struggling to have just one child to love, trying month after month and year after year no matter how hurt the disappointments can be; they are strong women.

My aunts, Dianne and Estelle, are strong women. Both supported their husbands through long, tough battles with chronic diseases which sadly ended their husband’s lives way too early. They were strong for their husbands and children. They took care of their aging parents daily. And then last year, Estelle was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. With her sister and families support, she has struggled with surgeries and chemo but is living a strong, loving life.

My other aunts, my godmother, and my mother in law Debbie, are also strong women, working full time jobs, caring for their parents, children and grandchildren.  Again so much i admire.
Sarah, my sister, is a strong woman. Both successful in her career and marriage, and soon to be motherhood, she also has gone through some health complications with her husband. She has been strong for Jesse, strong for me, strong for my mom, compassionate, caring and understanding, doing anything and everything for us, her husband and her friends.

My mom, Joanne, who has probably cared for more people in her life then all of us combined, is a strong woman. Elderly neighbors with little or no family to help them, she would cook and visit daily, families who lost everything from illness or tragedies, she would bring them necessities to get back on their feet. She raised her own children, and helped raise so many others, not just as her career but out of love, teaching them to be respectful, caring and most importantly go after their dreams. And her parents, for 10 years and counting, she helped take care of my grandfather, and now, my grandmother. Cooking, taking them places, being with them for dinner, and so much more. Selflessly, she gives them what they need most; her time, companionship and someone who cares.

My grandmother, Jennie, 92 years old; she has been a strong, independent woman her entire life. As a teenager in the late 1930s, she learned how to drive. While many women from her time never worked a job in their life, she worked, began early and as a young woman worked in factories doing a “man’s job” during WWII. She patiently waited for her soon to be husband to return from war. She married, suffered the loss of her second child when only a few months old, had a third child and then continued to work while being a good Italian wife and raising a family. Married and devoted for 50 plus years, she took care of her husband, my grandfather Al, for over 10 years, as he suffered with strokes and diabetes. Two years ago she lost both her sister and her husband within 3 months. Yet she remains strong. Last year at 91, she took her first trip out of the country, to Italy of course! One of the best family vacations anyone could have. She traveled to the village where grandparents lives and her parents were born, even meeting a long lost cousin! She was nonstop visiting, Rome, Florence, Capri and Pompeii, and spoke Italian the entire trip! Today she continues to live alone, cooking for herself, and anyone who visits, enough to feed you for the week. She volunteers and sews toys for children’s hospital, at 92 she is still helping others! She loves and prays for her grandchildren every day to the Madonna del Bosco, even yelling at her patron saint when things don’t go right! And she can’t wait to hold her great grandchildren! My grandma, the strongest woman I know and love.

So why do I write so much about these people? When I get scared or lost, I think about these strong women in my life, what they have accomplished and what they still reach for and how thankful I am to have them in my life. Yes the guys in my life are wonderful too but girls, surround yourselves with strong beautiful women. You will be inspired, always supported and a strong woman yourself.
"Strong women- precious jewels all- their humanness is evident in their accessibility. We are able to enter into the spirit of these women and rejoice in their warmth and courage."  — Maya Angelou

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