An Ode to the Older Women Who’ve Loved us Well

Photo: SO 2008 Photo: SO 2008

Our relationship has not been easy. I am immensely grateful for her love, sense of humor and resilience. Every family experiences some sort of challenge, and mine is no different. I do not think our story is ready to be told at this time in this space, but I will say I am absolutely confident I would not be where I am today without the presence of older women in my life who’ve filled this rich space, integral role, between friend and mom. So this Mother’s Day, I celebrate  y o u.

The women who welcome us in at the 11th hour shaky and scared.

Who meet up for coffee every few months or so until you’ve realized just how many years have gone by since that first coffee date.

Who encourage us when we feel confident in our desire to be a parent one day and say, “You’ll make a great mom one day.” Who patiently listen to us as we wrestle with this desire, strongly considering being child-free by choice, and accept us and our decisions as we are, no pressure, dismissal, or judgement.

Who let us ask very personal questions as we try and figure out the best choices for our lives.

Who take us to support groups, perhaps not realizing the gift of wholeness and healing that you would be a part of instilling in us.

Who still remember your birthday after all these years and might even leave you a voicemail singing happy birthday.

Who take time to write encouraging letters or messages that now color my journal pages and memory boxes.

Who give you books-or even write them- and write sweet notes on the inside cover that still make you smile today.

Who’ve been real with us in their own struggle and challenges, vulnerable transparency creating a safe haven for us to do the same.

Who check in to see how we’re doing and ask to meet up again soon.

1044939_10100966036716655_922684603_nWho taught us how to salsa, climbed ancient temples, who took the headwinds when we were trailing behind on our bike.

Who took us on road trips. Who told us stories of losing lifetime partners, sparing no tear, and when our tears collided, they were salty, but tasted of sweet, sweet love.

Who give us advice when we’re looking for it and room to spread our wings when we’re not.

Who go for walks on beaches imparting wisdom and a reason to laugh.

Who saw something in us and bothered to say something; who called out greatness in our lives- like that time you told me, “And no matter how long or circuitous it may seem, you are really gonna go somewhere.”

Who cheered me on when my dreams came true. Who taught me how to give myself grace when they fell apart as I watched my imagined photos of the future burn up into embers before your very eyes. Who sung hope into my ears until I could see it with my eyes. Who loved well and inspired much before I could even tell you how much it meant.

You are the women who make me want to look at the younger women in my life and do the same for someone else.

Because at the heart of it—mothers, daughters, friends, mentors, whathaveyou—I believe we’re all sisters. That’s permanent; no matter the changing seasons and parts of the world we find ourselves in. No matter what partners, careers, or kids do or do not arrive. No matter how different or similar our life choices and decisions may be. That stuff that connects us- it’s strong. Strong enough to get us through all those scary, anxious, uncertain moments. And when standing tall, be it on my bike, or in front of a microphone, or on a podium, or at the top of that stadium in Phnom Penh doing a workout class to Blondie, it will be because of all the women like you in my life.

So let’s do more of that. Let’s laugh like that, love like that, have fun like that. Let’s find those young women and girls in our lives and enjoy this thing called sisterhood.

Happy Mother’s Day, but really, Happy Sisterhood Day.

I love you.

Photo: Women Who Stand, 2012 Photo: Women Who Stand, 2012

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