To my mother, who loves making after-school snacks and baby blankets and doesn’t realize she’s also a community activist and a spiritual beacon to everyone who’s ever met her: Who inspires me to move forward; who makes me laugh and lets me win at Scrabble. Who saw potential in me me even when I was a shy, awkward, crooked-toothed little girl; who forced me to take piano lessons and go to school and fight to graduation, like she wishes she did; like I believe she will someday. And who has empowered me from childhood with the idea that I can make this world a better place.
To the mother who never saw my crooked teeth or fear of grown-ups: Who raised a little boy to become the man I love more than anything; whose strength and determination is the glue that binds her family together, who has an eye for beauty and beautiful eyes, who understands what it means to grieve but knows how to jump back up; whose phone calls I look forward to and whose friendship I treasure.
To my growing family of sisters:
To the one who I truly believe my brother would be a mess without, who always brightens the room with her smile and laughter, who can rough it like a mountain woman, but who makes éclairs and greeting cards like a pâtissière at a birthday party.
To the one who shares my shoe size and my love for vintage everything, whose singing voice and soul harmonize perfectly with my brother’s, whose unique life makes for the best dinner conversations, and who has endured and loved me even when I don’t necessarily deserve it.
To my east coast sister, whose creative genius is irresistibly brag-worthy, who I’ve loved as a sister since before we met, who understands my worldviews even though the views outside our windows may never be the same, and who brightens my inbox with gifts of gifs or blogs of hedgehogs.
To my one and only sister-from-birth sister; who I truly believe is a perfect person; who would never think or hear or speak ill of one single member of God’s big imperfect family; whose genius and determination will one day help her cure cancer; and who I’ve had the privilege of watching grow from a chubby-cheeked chatterbox into a beautiful and talented 18-year-old…though her dimples haven’t changed in the least.
To my grandmothers:
To my Grandma I., who “said it like it was,” whose blunt honesty meant she loved you and whose faith never wavered; who told me stories and introduced me to raw milk and gave me memories that will make me smile forever.
To Granma T., who loves unconditionally; who is tough as nails after raising six sons; whose stories and wisdom entertained me as a child and made me a better adult; who makes the best rolls and stuffing and whose health and stamina make me confident that my children will get to know her as well as I do.
To Grandma B., whose charming demeanor matches her beautiful British accent; who has loved me like a granddaughter since the first day I stepped foot in her immaculate home, who has energy and resilience like no other woman her age, and who has shown me what true love and devotion really mean.
To my friends – my sisters – of Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, the Pacific Islands, and down the street. To all the sisters I haven’t met yet; who I may never meet, whose beauty is manifest in so many ways to the people who know you as auntie, sister, daughter, teacher, lover, friend, or "that kind stranger."
Today, ladies, I celebrate you all.
Happy Women's Day.