March 7, 2022
I was raised by strong women. Strong in empathy, strong in courage, strong in hope, strong in prayer and strongest in love. I hoped to be just like them when I grew up; someone who was willing to lend a hand or an ear, someone others could rely on, someone who could make your day brighter with a note or a visit, someone who could be strong and raise a daughter to be stronger than she ever could.
Some days strong comes easy; playing, cooking, laughing and being silly. Some days strong is really hard; grieving, forgiving, trying again and stepping out of my comfort zone.
For the hard days, I turn to the remarkable women who raised me and somehow, even the hard moments and days are lifted and brighter. I am never alone.
I’ve lost a strong woman in the last two years, my grandmother. She, now she, was the strongest, fiercest, kindest and most gentle soul I have ever known. Not hungry, she’d cook for you anyway. Something broken, she’d sit down and sew it up. Need the truth, she’d tell you with a purse of her lips and a slight head nod. This woman was my role model. As she grew older, she stood by her husband, my grandfather, as he battled dementia. Her patience with him, her love for him, the way she included him, talked about him and held onto the memories of who they once were even though the days ahead were challenging.
She was brave. Brave when she came to the US from Italy as a teenager. Brave when she worked in schools despite the language barrier. Brave when she raised three girls and brave, so brave, when she received a cancer diagnosis. We cried. She accepted. She was brave and strong.
When I would call her, she’d always pick up the phone and say Sarina Darling and you could hear the smile coming through the phone…like a burst of sunshine, overwhelming, full of love, like the hug you didn’t know you needed. She was a beautiful soul and I miss her terribly.
I was raised by her girls…her daughters, who, through all of life’s challenges, have always been there for each other. They can do it all because they saw parents who did so much. They are the necessary ingredients to this recipe of life, the ingredients I can always scoop from when I am overwhelmed, stressed, happy, hurt, needing an ear or a helping hand.
I hope to be all of this for my daughter. To show her that being strong and having courage comes in many forms. And sometimes our courage and strength comes from standing with the women who raised us. I am never alone and neither is she.
To all Mama’s today and everyday…especially as we approach International Women’s Day, may you always know the role you play in your daughter’s life. Mama, you were given this girl, your daughter, because she needs you. May she always know she can turn to you, talk to you, trust you.
Be you. Be beautiful. Be strong, for her, for you.
a strong mama raising a strong daughter