March 8th is International Women’s Day. In keeping with the tradition of previous years, I’m going to spotlight several women who have played important roles in my life.
If you see your name listed and want it removed, just let me know.
March is women’s history month and these women all have their own unique history, which is part of my own unique history.
Part one can be found here
Sunday School and Beyond
Karen H: A wonderful Sunday school and youth group friend who Ive written about here.
Lydia F: another wonderful Sunday school and youth group friend who I’ve written about here and here.
Ellen C: Like a second mother, or a very amazing aunt. Ellen has been my mom’s best friend for years and our two families have always been very close. She has always been supportive and interested in what I’m doing in life. She gave me 13 roses and a white gold ring on my 13th birthday. I’ll always remember that because she made it into such a big deal. She has been present for every milestone in my life and is always excited to help me celebrate.
Eva M: Oldest daughter of Ellen. We were never very close because she always seemed so much older and cooler. My brother and i played with her younger brother and sister and she was always there, in the background, quietly watching and doing things that I thought were far above my comprehension
Elke C: We met when she was born: the youngest daughter of my mom’s best friend and one of my mom’s regular babysitting charges. Although four years younger, we were very close while growing up. With her I could act a little younger than I could with other people. We played card games and barbies and went for walks around my neighbourhood and played in her treehouse and chased her dog around. She always laughed at my jokes and made me feel like the best comedian around.
Sarah M: a Sunday school and youth group friend. When we first met, I remember thinking she was a lot older than me (because she was a foot taller than me). She and her mother came over to visit and I thought my brother and I were meeting our new babysitter. We put on a show of wild silliness and Sarah just sat there smiling. Later I found out that she was my age, but that first meeting set the tone for our friendship. Yes, Sarah is able to converse and have fun, but she often just sits, observes, and smiles. But beyond the quiet exterior is an amazingly strong woman who has remained upright and forward-moving despite circumstances that would bring many to the brink.
Marla D: the young wife of my youth group leader. I loved being in her presence because she was always so calm and serene. She radiated peace and made people feel comfortable and at ease. At age 12 or 13 when I first met her, she was a young wife with a young baby. I didn’t really know too much about her own personal hopes and dreams at the time, but she proved to be a terrific role model for little old me. I saw what she had (a sweet little family) and I wanted it too. One day, in the summer, I caught a glimpse of Marla’s legs as she hoisted her skirt a bit higher so she could step over something. It’s actually pretty weird that I’ve retained this memory but I remember Marla didn’t have shaved legs in that brief glimpse. I was amazed. I thought, this sweet little wife and mother is actually a complete bad-ass who doesn’t care about societal norms. And I was right. I don’t know about Marla’s legs at present time, but as I’ve grown to develop a peer relationship with her as opposed to teacher/student, I’m continually impressed by the level headed wisdom that Marla pours into the Universe. She is definitely a bad-ass, one that I’m blessed and amazed to call my friend.
Donna C: I saw her around school when I was younger, but she was a couple grades younger than me and I never really gave her a second thought. In my eyes, she was just a sweet little girl. When that sweet little girl grew up, I got to know her better as she started attending my church and eventually became daughter-in-law to my mom’s best friend. To me, while we weren’t incredibly close, Donna appeared to be very intelligent and driven to accomplish her goals. She has grown into an amazing woman who is passionate about teaching, gardening, living green, and parenting.
Kelly R: another Sunday school and youth group classmate. We weren’t very close but we had a lot of fun in group settings. I loved goi to her house for youth group activities because it was huge. And the yard was huge. And her large family seemed so relaxed and fun. One day I was looking through my dad’s family tree and I spotted Kelly’s name. It was a really weird moment wherein I just stared at her name on the page in shock. When I was quite young, my friends and I always thought it would be hilarious and awesome if we discovered we were somehow related. Finding Kelly’s family in my family tree was like a dream come true. Granted, we weren’t the closest of friends, but it was still surreal. To this day, I’m still finding people I know in my family tree.
Tessa M: another Sunday school and youth group friend. We had a lot of laughs together though we were never super close. Tessa seemed rebellious and unapproachable. She wore stylish clothes and perfectly applied makeup and she was abrupt and confident and oh so much cooler than me.
Shawnee P: the young wife of the second youth group leader, after Marla’s family had moved on to their next adventure. I remember attending the church meeting where members were voting about hiring Shawnee’s husband. One of the biggest issues was Shawnee’s age. The way people worried, I expected to meet a flighty young sixteen year old. She wasn’t actually sixteen (obviously) and I’ve never asked her how old she was. When the youth met her, it didn’t seem to matter anymore. She was young enough to fit in with the teenagers and old enough to be a teacher and impart her own brand of laid back-hippie wisdom. That’s not supposed to be an insult, Shawnee told us her family was a bunch of weird hippies. Eventually Shawnee’s family moved from youth group leadership to another adventure, but I still have fond, albeit strange, memories of her. Like the time she said, “Guys, I’m pregnant and that means I just can’t stop burping. You’ll just have to get used to it.” We did get used to it Shawnee, and we thought it was hilarious.
Part Eight Tomorrow