When you are a mother to a woman everyday is “Woman’s Day”

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ea5036cf997e4289135a3b267473a316 I watched my eldest granddaughter play a high school basketball district tournament game over the weekend. They lost.  After the game, parents and grandparents dutifully waited outside the locker room to show our support.  After what seemed like forever, the girls began to tearfully trickle out and flow into the arms of their loved ones. I anxiously waited to see how my girl was faring.  With a tear-stained face she searched the crowd and found me.  Our eyes locked and she climbed the bleachers into my outstretched arms. She came to me first and I think I know why.

There are very few people in my life that I can say loved me unconditionally. Actually, there is only one. My grandmother. Her face lit up every time she saw me and I somehow knew that she was excited to see me for only one reason…because it was me.  She loved me just because I existed and I was hers. It is my hope that my granddaughters believe the same of me.  The hug I gave my granddaughter was without murmured words of sympathy, encouragement or advice. I just hugged her for as long as I sensed she needed and kissed her neck. As I watched her move on, I suddenly realized my role in the family dynamic had changed. I was the bedrock this family of women was built on.  I was the solid and safe place my granddaughters could reach when they needed to be loved unconditionally. I was my grandmother.

I am the mother of one woman and grandmother to six who are rapidly joining the ranks of womanhood.  I’m okay with the role to which I now find myself relegated. The job is a lot easier than the one my daughter has. Raising women is hard work. They are exposed to so many negative messages. I’ve raised the one I was directly responsible for and I did the best I could with the knowledge I had.  I made a conscious effort to make sure my girl knew her worth apart from a man. I was not raised with this expectation.  It was a different time and my mother raised me the best she could with the knowledge she had. Like my mother before me, I didn’t get it all right, but I didn’t get it all wrong either. I know this because I’m seeing my daughter build on my foundation and pick up the ball where I dropped it.  My progeny are reaping the benefits of the women who have gone before them and tried to do better.

My eldest granddaughter just turned sixteen.  When I look at her I see the fruition of the efforts of the generations of women who have gone before. And, not just in my own family.  She is the product of women who had the courage to break out of gender based roles and women who believed being a strong woman didn’t mean having to act like a man. She is smart, tough, kind, compassionate, competitive, and beautiful. I’m not sure she even knows that there are such things as gender bias or glass ceilings.  She just decides what it is she wants and works hard to get there.  I’m pretty sure when she does find a door that is closed to her for reasons related to her gender, she’ll say, “this is bullshit” and knock harder.  In fact, I’m pretty sure she’ll have the courage to knock the door down! The image from the top of the page is something I found on her Pinterest page.  There are many with similar sentiment.

So, I’m raising the metaphorical glass of wine to toast the women in my life past and present.  And, to my daughter, you are doing great at a tough job. To my granddaughters, I’m proud of the women you’re becoming and if you need a hug…your grandma is here…waiting with open arms.   10989146_818646421505854_5383532363011842312_n

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11 thoughts on “When you are a mother to a woman everyday is “Woman’s Day”

  1. KateLeslie1

    I loved this post Beth. I have both granddaughters and grandsons. God blessed me with one child — a son. He’s a good man…a good husband and very involved dad to his four kids. I have a special relationship with each of my grandkiddos. My 17-year-old granddaughter and I have talked about the way things were “back in the day.” If she doesn’t really understand, I believe I can say she at least appreciates at some level the courage and sacrifices; the victories and disappointments; the naïveté and wisdom of women of my generation…and more closely — about me in particular. I believe each generation of women offer something of value to the next generations. My choice has been to continue to be fully present in those kids’ lives. I let them define what that means to them at any given age. My cup runneth over…

    • Kate thank you for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from folks about their lives and experiences. I can’t comment on what it would be like to have grandsons because evidently we don’t make that kind! LOL! But being a grandma in general is the best thing ever! Glad you enjoyed the article!

  2. Cristina Grant

    What a beautifully written piece. It brought tears to my eyes. My daughter is 17 and about to begin her senior year of high school. I find myself thinking, ‘God, please tell me I’ve taught her everything she needs to know.” I look at her and know how I’ve been blessed by having the privilege of being her mother. She is truly one of the smartest, most kind, thoughtful, beautiful, talented young ladies I’ve ever known. I am in awe of her. I know she will go on to do amazing things in her life and very much look forward to seeing and supporting her as she faces and conquers many more feats and milestones in her life. As I sit and think of her and the future I realize even if I haven’t taught her everything she needs to know, I have taught her to be strong and that she is and always will be loved and supported by her family and with those two things she will be just fine.

  3. I just found this post and wanted to thank you. I lost my mother very recently, physically and many years ago mentally to dementia. She never ceased to amaze me and although she never really wanted to be a grandmother she rose to the occasion brilliantly. I provided her with a grandson and two grand daughters, and she had very special relationships with each of them. She was always there when they needed her, and although the relationship with the youngest was the hardest because she was deteriorating at that stage but we didn’t know it then, it was the youngest who came with me every time we went to the nursing home. As I was overseas when she died, it was her grandchildren who put together the funeral music and read the eulogy. I am so thankful they got to spend that time with her, and have treasured memories of a very proud and independent woman. And as I watch the girls become more independent and just expect that they have the right to be who they want to be and do what they want to do, I know that their grandmother had a great part in that. I will patiently wait to be a grandmother, but I hope I can be half as good.

  4. Karen

    So well said, Beth! I had the same relationship with my grandmother, and knew she was always there for me. I have 2 adult daughters who are strong, independent women who carry on the legacy of women in our family. No grandchildren yet, but I hope they’ll have the same relationship with me as I had with my “Granny”.

  5. Michelle

    Beth, I didn’t even learn of the concept of unconditional love until I was an adult, from a magazine article. It shook me to my core and left me weeping. Right then I committed to giving that gift to my future children. Years later I did, to 2 wonderful daughters. My mother-in-law was their source for unconditional grandmother love that my own mother could not provide. I am happy to be the start of a new kind of mother-daughter relationship in my family and look forward to someday being a grandmother. (No pressure, girls.😉) And by sharing your blog, I can add you to my list of role models. Thank you.

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