I woke up today and Facebook told me it is International Women's Day (thanks Facebook for always keeping me updated). As a young woman in this world, I think that today is somewhat for me. I might be at the beginning stages of my "womanhood" but the fact of the matter is that I am one (a woman). Right now I'm just 25 and I'm single and I live alone with my dog. It sounds simple, but I'm accomplishing a lot as a woman. I support myself. I take care of myself (and my dog!). And someday I will develop in my stages of "womanhood". I will become a wife and a mother. I will continue to climb the professional ladder, as a woman. and just as the women in my life have become role models of what it means to be a woman, I will be hopefully be one of those too.
Today is a little bit for me, but I feel it is more for the women in later stages of "womanhood". I feel it is for the ones who have shown me ways to be a woman, that I have rights, choices, strength, and a voice. In that spirit, I want to talk about two very special, important women: my grandmothers. Each of them is very different, but both have impacted my life significantly.
We'll go in alphabetical order.
Dear Grandma Mona,
Knowing your history and your passions, I think today is very much for you. You're independently responsible to have gotten where you are, to have what you have, and to have done all that you have done. We may not always see eye-to-eye on things, but I appreciate that you always challenge me. You're both intellectual and creative at the same time, and this is rare. I appreciate that you have encouraged me to pursue knowledge and to develop my creative talents. And we have Judaism. Thank you for giving me this, even if it looks different for the two of us, it binds us in a way that nothing else can. Thank you for all of our thoughtful conversations, for laughing at my jokes, for teaching me that being a Jewish woman can mean whatever I want it to be. I hope I'm living that out in a way that makes you proud.
Dear Grandma Tom,
One thing that my friends always say about me is that I'm loyal. I think this is something I learned from you. I don't know many women (or people really) who stay so loyal to their families and their friends. I always remember growing up that you would give and receive cards from some of your friends all over the country--people you grew up with or have known for more than my own lifetime and you never missed their birthdays even with distance. I watched you love grandpa, literally until his last breath. Thank you for also showing me that I can be forever young. Throughout my whole life you've played games with me, shown me music and crafts, and you continue to do it with your great grandchildren. I suppose you must be getting older, because we all do, but in my eyes you are always full of youth.
And to you both, I'm sorry I chose to move so far away from you, but I love and miss you everyday. And I wouldn't have the strength or motivation to pursue my dreams and goals without your influence. Thank you for being women I have learned from, can believe in, and thank you for all that you have done in my life.