Occasionally, random thoughts assault your brain for no particular reason; they just appear out of nowhere and somehow occupy your mind for undetermined amounts of time. Today has been one of those days when I have been thinking about the women in my life. The line is long and strong and I am a proud link on this chain.
My mother, Norma, was the best example of an independent woman I ever knew; she was a mother of four and a “working woman” long before it was fashionable. She held down a 9-5 job as an administrative assistant in the Panama Canal Company, the last of various positions held from the time when she first arrived there at age nineteen until her premature death at forty-eight. Just as women today, she did so to contribute to the household income. My dad, Lloyd, would have liked her to stay home, he worked for the Star & Herald newspaper, and used to say “I can take care of my family alone” but mom had her own ideas. I wonder where I get that from, hmm. They were the best parents we could have asked for.
Women have always been a very important part of my life, starting with my very first BFF, my mother. I could go to her with anything I had in mind—be it discussing the mysteries of becoming a young woman and all that it entails to talking about boy crushes, to figuring out what to wear to the prom—anything. In fact, when we announced our engagement to my parents, my mother took over wedding planning with such determination, that my only involvement in the whole process consisted of showing up for dress fittings and being on time for the wedding. I could count on her to come through for me.
Luckily, I also have my sister, Lydia; she is two years younger; to this day still my best friend. My sister and I have been inseparable ever since she came into my world—yes, we have two brothers and we love them dearly—but they are…well hmm men!
Since I am reflecting on the women in my life, you would need to know that when I met and married Carl, we like any other couple had plans for children; I never gave it a thought as to boys or girls, he hoped there would be at least one boy, I would be happy to just become a mother. Our daughter Natalie arrived first; then Nasima, my sister’s child and our niece appeared and I was like okay, I think girls are in our destiny and then came Yasmin our second daughter and last child; I was totally convinced—women are what will surround us. Sorry dad…to make the circle complete at the time, we even had female dogs. LOL
All along this road of life, I counted with the support of “women of strength” such as my grandmother, aunts and girlfriends—thanks to Facebook, I have even stayed in touch with my high school partner in crime, Rina. She has worked relentlessly to pull out of the woodwork many of the friends with whom I had lost touch decades ago, today we correspond just as we did when we were still in our teens.
Today, my BFF circle is tight—it consists of the women mentioned before, but what holds me together is the love and friendship of my daughters—and that includes my niece, even though she is technically my sister’s child; I am so proud of the women they have become in their own right. My other mother—Lois, who is actually my cousin and someone my parents had the great idea to commission as my “Godmother” all those years ago, when I was born. I am grateful for her because when I suddenly lost my mother, long before she could meet any of her grandchildren, I still have Aunt Lois as my go to mom—to answer all of the questions I still have even at this stage of life.
The likely reason I got into this sentimental journey–this past weekend we were in Orlando celebrating the baptism of Elisa, and as usual during family gatherings, I looked around at our children, nieces, nephews, in-laws and reflected on the great family we are. If that was not enough, the circle of life continues to bless us these days, with granddaughters, yes–more girls–Lauryn, Elisa and Sydney.
Of course—we are not perfect but truth be told this is the only family I would ever need or want and I am a truly blessed and grateful part of it!