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Terri Simon

A woman’s strength

Mother’s Day is tomorrow, Sunday — a special day to honor those women in our lives who have made a difference. Moms, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, teachers, friends, neighbors ... just because it’s called Mother’s Day, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t honor all women who have impacted our lives.

There have been many, many women who have touched me and shaped me into who I am today. While I still have far to go when it comes to being the person I aim to be, I credit much of who I am to the love, care and friendship of others. I have been blessed.

While women have changed considerably throughout the years, I still believe and admire the strength I’ve seen so many women exhibit — not just in times of crisis but also in their day-to-day lives. I’ve watched women who have faced incredible adversity, frightening times, formidable moments and horrific events, yet they continue to greet the world with a smile on their faces and much love in their hearts. They are women who still extend a hand to others and are usually the first one to raise that same hand when a volunteer is needed.

I was raised by strong women (and a strong Grandpa too, but for the sake of Mother’s Day, I’ll talk about Grandpa another day). As I think back, I don’t know if my grandmother really knew she was as strong as I saw her, but even though I was very young, I remember watching her closely and admiring her for the woman she was.

Grandma was a woman who owned nerves of steel, and seldom did her children or grandchildren ever rock that stability. Instead, she took life’s adversities with a grain of salt, and she showed us that despite events that rip open your soul, you could still handle life with the grace and strength she readily displayed.

Grandma — whose heart belonged to the bright lights of the city — learned to love the darkened skies and twinkle of fireflies in the country. We watched her face so much, yet we also watched her heart sing about the little things in life that most never notice. She was tough as nails, yet gentle as a spring rain.

She was so much to those who loved her — a storyteller; a nature lover; a Grandma who wanted you in her lap; a book reader (OK, she did read romance novels to me even though Grandpa told her not to), an animal lover; a nurse (she delivered many babies at Perry Memorial Hospital); a tear-dryer; a Grandma who thought an orange Popsicle for lunch was perfectly acceptable; a Scrabble player; a disciplinarian (a flyswatter was her weapon of choice); a no nonsense woman when it came to problems; a traveler — even though she seldom got to; the matriarch of our family who everyone loved and admired.

Fortunately for me, my mom now owns many of those same traits — she just exhibits them in different ways. She, too, has prevailed in the face of much adversity, and she’s much stronger than she realizes. She gives so much of herself to those she cares about, and I know I’m at the top of her list. Unlike my grandmother, my mom can cry for almost no reason at all, but I know many of the tears she’s shed throughout the years have been for me ... and because of me. While her strength often drips from her eyes as she faces the journey ahead of her, there’s no doubt in my mind she will always prevail. She always has.

I’m very lucky, very blessed to have had strong women in my life — ones who value the important things like love, family, charity and faith — ones who have helped instill those same qualities in my heart.

While we’ll celebrate those women in our lives tomorrow who have made a difference, I’m suggesting we need to honor those ladies every day. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Judy Dyke, and to all the strong women who change us in a positive way.

BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at tsimon@bcrnews.com.