March is (was?) Women's History Month. Now that it's over I would like to get this in just under the wire: a simple tribute to those women who inspired me. Not the ones with biographies written about them or commemorative quarters or HBO specials about them, but the ones who directly impacted my life simply by being in it. Sometimes we forget that it's the people we see every day, the people we left behind, the people who made us angry or frustrated, who make us the people we are.
I raise my glass of red wine to you lovely ladies. I would love to hear, in the comments section, who inspired those of you reading this.
My mother, of course, the first woman in my life. No matter how early I had to get up she made sure I saw a friendly face before I left the house every morning, and no matter how late I stayed out she made sure I never ate dinner alone.
Grandma I. One of the most self-sacrificing, giving women I've ever met, who endured hardship after hardship with courage and conviction and never once complained about it or expected a damn thing in return.
Grandma R., who died of breast cancer when I was seven years old. She always made time for me, always played with me no matter how sick she was, and always always always took my side in all things.
Aunt T., who always kept my secrets and treated me like an adult.
Aunt E. and my mother-in-law, who both prove that it's never too late to start over and live life on your own terms.
Aunt L. who shows me how to be the rock of the family.
Great-Aunt N. because she depended on no one and never expected help, even when she needed it.
Great-Aunt M. because she proved that you are never too old to fall in love.
My first best friend, for being so ridiculously competitive that I became a better person through our friendship, just to keep up with her.
My fourth-grade teacher, for being an endlessly patient and sympathetic ear during a rough time in my early development.
My fifth-grade teacher, for teaching me to love American history.
My photography teacher, for forcing me to never settle for "good enough."
My creative writing teacher, for giving me courage to find my voice.
My sister-in-law Daria, for inspiring me to stand by my own feminist ideals.
My sister-in-law's mother, for being such a kick-ass lady.
My cousin-in-law, Mrs. Rudy, for giving me the single best piece of romantic advice I ever received and, in doing so, inspired me to ditch the losers and find the love of my life.
All of my husband's ex-girlfriends, for making him the man he is and for setting the bar so low that I have to do something really awful to make him upset with me.
Every girlfriend I've ever had and am no longer friends with, especially the ones whose friendships ended on bad terms, for teaching me what a real friend is -- by not being that.
The Knottie Hotties for being the sisters I've always wanted, the friends I've always needed, and the women I can only hope to be like.
My oldest friend in the world, Tia, for constantly inspiring me with her positivity, optimism, and endless reserves of strength.
My friend Yentl, for teaching me how to box and, in doing so, giving me the self-confidence I so desperately lacked in my life, and for always having my back no matter what.
All the mom friends I've made in the past year and a half, for giving me a safe place and for making me laugh and think and want to be a better mother, friend, and woman.
My future daughter and/or nieces, for inspiring me to constantly re-examine the woman I am today in the hopes that I can help shape you into the women of tomorrow.