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Bonus Week: Past, Present, and Future

We have a BONUS week! An extra Monday will happen four times in 2021, March, May, August, and November! What shall I do with them!? March being National Women's History Month, I should probably write about women or at least a particular woman.

Many women inspire me: some famous, some not. The first woman to influence me was, of course, my mother. She is an amazing woman who, like many women, never gives herself enough credit for all the incredible things she has done. She has devoted her life to her family and friends, often being the "go-to" person for many. She taught me volunteerism and encouraged me to use my voice when many others hushed me. She always had big dreams for me, sometimes more extensive than I was dreaming at the time. She has suffered losses and continued to be strong. She has been angry and continued to be caring. She taught me that caring and giving yourself is important work even if it seems to go unappreciated or even noticed because the recognition of that work is not the point. She taught me that not all superheroes wear capes, and keeping the blankie you used as one at seven can still be with you in adulthood. (My blankie is still with me today. It is not tattered; it has no holes. It's lost its glossy ribbon around the edges, and, of course, Mommie offered to sew on a new ribbon. I said, no, thank you because it is a reminder of the life it has had.)

My mother and daughter; both amazing, both inspire me.

My mother is humble, intelligent, and kind. She has left her mark on so many people, but she will say she hasn't. She does not recognize her worth, her strength, her beauty. She is like so many women who sit quietly alone at times, wondering, "Did I do enough?" I'm here to tell her, and all the other women who ever question their worth: You are priceless. You matter. You are appreciated. You are loved.

Women often have a hard time lifting themselves and lifting other women. Somehow they think if they praise another, their worth is less. We must make a point of recognizing one other, recognizing each other's accomplishments, recognizing each other's struggles. We must acknowledge those struggles individually, as every battle affects each woman differently. Let's not downplay another's pain; let's not judge one another. Whether your female friends are mothers and their parenting is not the same as yours, whether they have chosen the path of not ever being a mother. Let's remember if we cannot give a helping hand, at the very least, do not add to their struggles.

Women throughout history have been underpaid, underrated, undercut, underestimated. If they cry, they are labeled weak. If they wear too short a skirt, they are labeled a whore. If they cover too much skin, they are a prude. If they rise through the ranks too quickly, "She must have slept with someone." Working mothers fight against stay-at-home mothers. Stay-at-home mothers fight against women who choose not to be mothers at all. We all have value; we all matter. We all deserve to be appreciated and loved. We all have history to make, and should never underestimate your influence on those around you.

The recognition of celebrating American women throughout the United States' history began as only a week-long event in 1982. In 1987 by petition from the National Women's History Project, Congress passed a law and requested the President "to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such month with appropriate ceremonies and activities." (Pub. L. 100-9) But don't let the calendar or some proclamation tell you when to celebrate women in history or in the present. Celebrate NOW! Recognize women NOW! Remind your mothers, daughters, nieces, sisters, girlfriends, aunts, and strangers, "We are in this together. You make a difference. You are amazing, and above all else, YOU MATTER."

Love Lots; Smile Often



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