Just in case you couldn't tell from my previous post, I'm blessed to have a family that also functions as a network of incredibly strong women. Grandmothers, aunts, cousins, women that aren't blood-related but are still family - it's taken growing up to realize how beautiful and rare this is.
Today is my mother's birthday. She is the epitome of grace, elegance, beauty and intelligence. She is my favorite person.
She is also my most important teacher. Raising a young woman in today's society can't be easy, and I know, at times, I put my mom through the wringer. I joke with my friends about the "dark ages" - I think we've all apologized to our mothers in a blanket statement for anything covering the years from 14-17. Through it all - ups, downs, tears, laughter and more than one angry fight - my mom showed me what it was to be a strong, fearless woman.
It's hard, sometimes, to be a woman in today's society and carry yourself with respect. It's hard to keep getting back up when you're knocked down. It's hard not to let society's expectations of your body, your mind, your life's path weasel their way inside your head to become your own inner mantra.
This is what my mom has taught me : to keep fighting. to keep laughing. to apologize when necessary, but to refuse to when not. to cry, love, and hurt - to embrace those feelings and make them your own. to treasure your family above all else. to drink wine. to drink gin and tonics! to dress well. to carry yourself well. to demand the respect you deserve. to honor yourself.
My mother carried me into the house after I was hurt. She took phone call after phone call after I lost my friend when the only sound I was capable of making were deep, wrenching sobs, when I couldn't form many coherent words. She brought me my meds and meals. She politely informed the doctor that no, they were not discharging her daughter from the hospital until they figured out what was wrong. She rubbed my back. She laughed with me every time something was finally funny again.
She's superwoman, basically. And today is her birthday. So happy birthday, mom. Thank you for raising a stubborn Irishwoman just like yourself. I'm the luckiest girl because of that.