Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Strong Women

I am very fortunate to have such strong women role models in my life and I am thankful that Roxy does, too.  In many ways, Roxy has become a role model for me as well. 

Four generations

Both of my grandmothers are very strong women.  My mom's mom, Barbara, gave birth to twelve children.  She and my grandfather together had a total of 16.  That's a lot.  She spent a lot of her time raising children, cooking and cleaning for her family and extended family, and she has had uteran cancer, a heart attack, two hip replacements, and more health issues.  Yet at 92 years old, she still lives by herself.  She's lost three children and a husband.  No matter what she's been through, she never fails to give Roxy one-on-one time playing peek-a-boo through her walker on Sunday afternoons.  My biggest fear is that when my grandmother is gone, Roxy won't remember these early visits and all the fun that Granny had with her or how proud Granny is of her. 

My dad's mother, Fannie, passed away almost three years ago.  She had three children, one of which has Down's Syndrome.  My grandmother helped my grandfather out when she could, babysat her grandchildren to the point of practically raising them (my brother and I, specifically) and other children, and took care of the special needs of my aunt.  She had open heart surgery, breast cancer, leukemia, diabetes, and other numerous health issues throughout the years.  She just kept going.  We lost her to complications from diabetes.  It saddens me that Roxy will never know her personally, but will hear stories of what a great woman she was.  I miss her so much and think of her every day.

My mom, Roxanne.  How can I not look up to my mom?  She has worked her tail off to make sure my brother and I had everything we needed growing up and just about everything we wanted, too.  She still does.  She loves me even though I screwed up a lot during those teen years.  A LOT!  She's always able to give me advice and she has become my best friend.  Her heart attacks and mini-strokes haven't kept her down.  She's back up and at it and still going strong!  She'll do anything for anyone, all you have to do is ask.  She taught me how to celebrate the small things in life because sometimes you just need to. 

My mother-in-law, Jeannie.  She raised three children on her own.  She does so much for other people.  She's working her way back to normal from a partial knee replacement and is making quick progress!  She's accepted me into her family and she loves Roxy to pieces.  She raised a pretty wonderful man for me to marry.

All of my aunts.  They have all been through so many different issues throughout their lives with children and their parents and jobs and spouses.  But in our family, you don't give up.  You just keep moving forward one day at a time.  They have all been there for me throughout the years. 

 Roxy.  Even in her short time with us, Roxy inspires me.  She's a fighter and has shown how strong she is.  She fought so hard those first few weeks to be healthy and her attitude showed me that nothing is impossible when you believe in yourself.  Our 11-week early, 1 pound, 9 ounce bundle of joy fought her way to being a perfectly normal and advanced toddler.  Every day I learn to enjoy the small things in life when watching her learn.  Whoever thought that a mommy, the boo-boo kisser, would be made to feel all better by a "ug" from a 19-month-old?  At the end of every day, this mommy feels better just by getting a squeeze from my favorite girl. 

Whenever I start to let stuff get me down, all I have to do is think about one of these women and how strong they've been during struggles and issues worse than my own.  Thinking about them always gives me strength to be strong and have faith. 
Who inspires you and keeps you strong?

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