There’s this perception that women are critical of each other, unsupportive, backstabbing, judgmental, catty. That we’d sooner step on each other than lift each other up. I disagree one hundred percent.
Today is International Women’s Day. I can think of no better way to dispel those myths about women and how we relate to each other than to point out some of the wonderful women who are part of my life and how they’ve helped me to become the woman I am today.
My mother, Dorothy, who not only shaped my life, but gave me life. She was one of the most genuinely kind and loving, nonjudgmental people I’ve ever known. She made our home into the place all of our friends wanted to be, with her warmth, her infectious laugh, her wonderful cooking, and her love of having a house filled with the noise of youth. I miss her every day.
My twin sister, Laura. Sharing a womb with someone definitely creates a bond that is different than any other. Though we don’t see each other every day like we did growing up, she was and is my cheerleader, my protector, my confidante, and my friend. We have that twin thing going where the phone rings and I know it is her. We’ve checked out the same books from the library at the same time without knowing we’re doing it. Though we aren’t identical, our voices are a really close match, especially on the phone. We’ve played some fun pranks with that! We share a love of travel, of music, and of family and we always have a great time together. We’ve shared a whole life together, big moments, little moments and everything in between. So grateful to share it with her.
My older sister, Donna. At 16, she became a big sister to me and Laura. Some teens would think it was horrible that their older parents were having more children, but not Donna. She loved her big sister role and really enjoyed spoiling us. She’d buy us cute clothes and nice toys all the time. I remember at age 8, she bought us these adorable mini skirt outfits with white gogo boots. She also loved music, and listened to a lot of Motown when we were young. I picture her dancing in the living room whenever I hear a Supremes song. She is always there to lift me up when I’m down, to listen when I need to talk, and to catch a movie and a coffee for some sister time. How lucky am I?
My sister Judy. So grateful that she found me and that we are getting the chance to know each other, that we’ve had the chance to spend a few holidays together, and that she was there to celebrate 50 with us.
My friend Ellen, who I knew from 6th grade, who left us way too soon last September. Junior high and high school dances, sleepovers with all three of us in one twin size bed. First kisses. First boyfriends. Going to college together. Weddings. We shared so many moments of our lives together; there’s a piece of my heart reserved just for her.
Cindy, a friend from college, who is one of those people I now see once or twice a year but it is as if no time has passed at all when we do get together again. She is raising two adopted girls as a single mom and has built a successful business, too. I can always count on her to remind me of my good qualities and push me to live up to my potential.
My friend Stephanie, who I met through wheelchair sports over twenty years ago. She’s also a single mom raising a beautiful daughter, and a fabulous friend. She is absolutely loyal and devoted and I can trust her with anything.
My friend Linda who I met living in Virginia. Who knew that we’d both leave the nonprofit world to pursue careers in law within years of each other and remain fast friends all these years later?
My law school friend Kee Kee. We might see each other once every couple years, but like with Cindy, there’s a deep connection there that transcends time and space.
My college wheelchair basketball teammates Ann, Sharon, Sherry, Barb. Without them pushing me to look beyond my self imposed limits, I never would have gone the places I’ve gone and done what I’ve done.
My friends Gloria, Taina and Estela with whom I’ve shared many wonderful Mexican meals, a margarita (or two), salsa dancing and beautiful friendship.
Another friend Cindy who I met through my husband. We hit it off like we’d been friends forever. Cindy helped me every step of the way when I was running for judge–couldn’t have done it without her.
On this International Day of Women, I salute each and every one of these women, for their fabulousness, their fierceness, their beauty, inside and out. Thank you for being in my life–I love you all.