A celebration of Women’s History Month close to home

During Women’s History Month in March, we’re often encouraged to remember the people who have left their imprints on the world on a national scale. The names that often come to mind are that of Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Eleanor Roosevelt, Geraldine Ferraro, Gloria Steinem, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Amelia Earhart, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. And the list goes on and on.

From causes ranging from civil rights and the women’s movement to fields such as literature and science, these are all incredibly important women who have changed the world and provided opportunities for the generations that followed to enjoy lives filled with freedoms and choices. Our lives today would not be the same without them.

But as we look to the history books for inspiring words about these famous women, there are women all around us who also deserve recognition for having provided examples of how to overcome obstacles, live life to the fullest, achieve goals, and they made great and lasting impacts in the process. They are our mothers, sisters, nieces, aunts, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and friends.

This past weekend, I had the chance to spend some time with several of the amazing women who are part of my own family. Our gathering of women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s certainly wasn’t planned to mark Women’s History Month, but in retrospect, it was something special. It was a celebration of the things we had accomplished, our hopes for the future, the places we’ve been, the mistakes we’ve made, and obstacles we’ve overcome.

Some of these incredible women in my family have survived less-than-perfect childhoods, the death of a spouse, and cancers that could have easily been deadly. They’ve earned degrees, had successful careers and marriages, taken care of their parents in old age, and put children through college and saw them get married and have their own children. And maybe most importantly, all along the way they served as positive role models for their families. They are all powerful examples of strong, opinionated, funny, intelligent and loving women who are every day making a difference in the lives of the people around them.

This family gathering was a chance to pass that knowledge and those experiences from one person to another in a way that is illustrated throughout history — by having conversations and sharing stories often peppered with strong doses of humor and laughter.

And in retrospect, our little gathering was most definitely a fitting tribute to Women’s History Month, and to the history of women in our family.