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March 08, 2019

Raising Strong Women (and Men)

I am a strong woman because a strong woman (and man) raised me.
I am a patient mom because a patient mom nurtured me.
I am a generous sister because a generous sister gifted me.
I am a kind friend because kind friends cared for me. 
I am a passionate person because passionate people surround me. 
I am a loving wife because I feel love around me.
I am a protective parent because my parents protected me.

There is a saying in Italian that my dad uses, and it basically translates to "Look at what's around you and it'll tell you who you are."

Today is International Women's Day #IWD2019. When I was a kid, my mom made no mistake telling me how she lived through disparity, fought for her education, paid her own way and was the first female in her family to go to university. And this wasn't in the 1800s. This was in the 1970s. Not very long ago. She told us many times, and we remember.

As a child, my mom always told my sister and me that we could be whatever we wanted, whoever we wanted and there wasn't anything a man could do that we couldn't. And my dad? My dad was always supportive. While I heard stories of other families where men would sit around while women did "traditional" chores, my dad often cooked meals, vacuumed, took my sister and me to our after-school activities. 
You could say my standards for a husband were pretty high. But I also knew from an early age how I wanted to be treated, and how we deserved to be respected. And you know what I've learned (and what Donny has even told me?) A strong and smart man isn't threatened by a fierce woman; in fact, it's quite the opposite. A respectful partner continues to raise you up, cheer you on, and catch you if you fall. 

So as we look to raise our two daughters, I would say those standards have increased even more. We do expect a lot from our girls, but we would do the same if they were boys. And the biggest expectation of all is to be kind. 

Because if you can be kind in the face of anger, you are strong. If you can be patient in a world of frenzy, you are thoughtful. If you are confident in a crowd of disrespect, you are fierce. 

Here's to strong women.
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them. 

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