Yesterday was International Woman’s Day, a day that celebrates the achievements of women. It also serves as “a call to action for accelerating gender parity.” Tooling around the internet, I discovered an International Woman’s Day website. I was pleased to discover that the day has been observed for a very long time, the early 1900’s.

I studied history in college, so I am familiar with what women have endured gaining what rights they have. I also know that throughout history, strong women have always been prominent. I could talk about the tip of the spear, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but that is not what this post is for. I want to highlight the impact lesser-known women have had on my life.

Yesterday, I wrote a short Facebook post expressing the love and admiration I have for my mother. I wrote, “my mother set an amazing example for my brothers and me. She taught us to love, respect, value, and encourage women. And I do.”

On International Woman’s Day I want to celebrate my mom, who has set an amazing example for me.
My mother was a middle-grade English teacher for 42-years. She would go to work and then come home to her second job, taking care of a household of four men. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I have struggled with chronic illness my whole life. I was born with rare diseases and had a kidney transplant three years ago. My mother was my support, my comfort. I can remember her holding me as a child, telling me that everything would be okay. In my teens, I had two major surgeries. I can remember her feeding me ice chips and swabbing my dry lips in my hospital room. As an adult, she never judge’s me when I struggle to reconcile my blessings and curses. That’s my mother.
I would be remiss if didn’t mention my father, for he and she have been in partnership my entire life. My mother married a man who sees women as his equal. This reinforced the example my mother set. Seeing, watching a man treat women the right way is powerful. It instilled in me how it is supposed to be. I may fall short at times, but I know better.

My father has loved, supported, and respected everything my mother has done in life. I have never seen him disrespect her, and whenever my brothers and I popped off, he was quick to put us in our place. I can remember him going to her school to help her set up her classroom at the end of summer break. I can remember him dropping everything to help her with technological issues. He still does. My mom has many strengths, but navigating technology isn’t one of them.

My mother has five sisters, so many strong and independent women had a hand in raising me. My grandfather valued education and didn’t want his daughters to be beholden to a man. So, he made sure his daughters could take care of themselves.

When I was a toddler, my mom’s oldest sister practically moved to Palm Springs to watch my oldest brother and me (my younger brother was not born yet). When I needed a job after the Great Recession hit, it was another of my mom’s sisters that provided it. When I needed a kidney transplant, another stepped up. It was a woman that saved my life by donating one of her kidneys to me. How awesome is that?

The thing is, it’s puzzling to me that we even need to have this debate. Of course, women should have the same rights as men, in all respects. That seems like common sense and a basic level of human decency to me. I don’t know what there is to debate about that. The way women are sometimes treated sickens me. So, I wrote this post to say thank you and to let you know that there are men on your side.

Thank you.

I see you.