On International Women’s Day, I say Thank You

To my mother, who shuffled us here and there, took us to church, taught in our schools, made us laugh, passed down Grandma Wehrwein’s banana bread recipe, and taught us that joy comes from God and not circumstances, thank you.

To our two birth mothers, who made the hardest, most sacrificial choice one can imagine and made me a mother, thank you.

To Mamaw, who taught me that being a wife is a gift, that loving God openly and proudly is worthy, and that working hard from sun-up to sundown can be done without complaining, thank you.

To Aunt Gloria, who taught me that stubbornness can be a force for good and independence can still exist in a marriage, thank you.

To my Aunt Debbie, whom I miss dearly, who taught me that humor is not overrated (especially in marriage and motherhood), and that God’s love never fails, thank you.

To Grandma, who taught me the importance of a strong vocabulary and a well-rounded education, and encouraged my own creativity, thank you.

To my sister, whose friendship has meant more to me in adulthood than I thought possible, whose example of motherhood is one I look to daily, whose companionship is unlike any other in my life, thank you.

To my tribe of women, whom I truly cannot live without, whose friendships are a lifeline, whose examples of boldness, intelligence, strength, and loyalty anchor me, thank you.

To my GPS classmates, who’ve taught me that a woman can be anything she wants to be, from a physician, a counselor, and a business owner to a professor, an artist, and a homeschooling mother, thank you.

To the women who worked to make homeschooling legal in all 50 states, thank you.

To the women who work in our hospitals, churches, schools, and governments, thank you.

To the writers, artists, and dreamers who’ve gone before me, thank you.

To the women who show up when no one else does, thank you.

Finally, to my husband, who loves and supports this woman despite all of her flaws, thank you.