As another International Women’s Day (IWD) approaches I think about all the women I know. The impact they’ve had on my life has varied from huge to glancing. Each has served as a mentor or a role model, an example or a warning. Some, at times, all four. Some of these women are relatives, some are friends, and many are strangers.
I’m grateful for the example my mother has served and continues to serve as she approaches her seventy-fifth birthday. She’s a hard-working person of strength who has supported every one of my endeavours. I hope I’ve inherited or acquired the best parts of her.
Lest you believe that only peers or elders can influence you, think again. One of the most important women in my life is my daughter. She is a marvel who continues to amaze and impress me. She’s had some remarkable adventures and achieved impressive milestones already. Yet, at only 22, she has a lifetime ahead of her to do and be more.
I learn from her all the time. Sure, I see a younger me in her as well, but mostly I see a far better, more evolved me. And of course I believe that who she is, is at least in part because of the genetics, nurturing, and parenting she received from her father and me.
The fact is She’s using all the gifts she has to do exciting, important work as a special events coordinator at the Stollery children’s Hospital Foundation. She works with celebrity athletes, media people, rich and influential business people, volunteers, service providers, and, occasionally, devastated parents and dying children.
Those contacts plus others from university, former jobs, volunteer roles, high school, extended family, and friends make for an impressive Rolodex. Best of all, she actually maintains the relationships through phone calls, emails, dinner invitations, small gifts, and reciprocal exchange of favours. I’m trying to learn that lesson and get better at staying in touch with the people in my life.
I see Hilary taking on challenges and succeeding. I see her buying her own home and working on her degree part-time. I see her finding her own mentors and role models because she needs advice and expertise I can’t provide. In the process, I continue to learn.
I admire her energy and passion, commitment and work ethic, toughness and tenderness. Not only does she arrange corporate and charity events, she works hardest to draw and keep the family together. She faces difficulty head-on with a maturity far beyond her years. She loves to shop and travel; eat, drink, and be merry. She’s finding the balance between work and play that eludes so many of us.
She has dreams and aspirations and is taking the steps to get there. Hilary is not perfect. Like me, she has more life lessons to learn. This March 8, think about and be grateful for all the important women in your life, regardless of their age. Just as important is remembering those lives You’re influencing, from where I sit.