Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. This year, I am dedicating International Women’s Day to my Dad. Or, more generally, to the people who are responsible for raising the strong, independent, intelligent, beautiful women of today. I am dedicating today to the mothers, the father, the aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, family friends, teachers, caretakers, and mentors who put their hearts, lives, and minds to the important task of growing little girls into women who can stand on their own two feet and take on the world.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and indeed to raise a woman who knows herself well enough to survive the world, but who is still innocent enough to enjoy the wonder of what she sees everyday takes a community.
A community to love without borders, to discipline with love, to expose her to new ideas and the old-fashioned values, to show her the kind way to live, how to stand up for yourself and others, to guide her when she needs to see the way and to let her try and fail when she needs to learn for herself, to model the ethics needed for a better future, to show her how to question others and herself, to give her the wings to fly when it is time, and loving arms to fall into when she needs to come home.
My privilege in life is not money or position; my privilege in life is the wonderful people I am lucky enough to call my family and my community: my beautiful Mama who taught me the value of loving yourself exactly as you are, and not to give in to what society tries to tell you is beautiful; my grandmothers, both strong, independent souls in a time when that was simply not acceptable behaviour for a women; my little sister who redefines the modern woman every single day – nail gun in one manicured hand, a mixing spoon in the other- and does it with flair; my darling friends and aunties who are all chasing down their own versions of what it means to be a woman in 2013; the amazing men who support the women closest to my heart, as well as my own sweetheart who stands beside me; and, finally, to my Dad.
My Dad taught me to stand tall, stare the world in the face, and smile; to remember that I am a Chatwin and that means responsibility to family, friends, and strangers; to help when you can, give the shirt off your back, and always be ready to extend a hand in friendship because you never know when you’ll meet an angel in the street. My Dad is a feminist at heart who taught me both how to hammer a nail, and how to make melting moments. And, my Dad gives the best bear hugs in the world.
Happy International Women’s Day 2013. To all the women I know, and the men who stand by them.
Tell me, dear reader, who would you thank for raising you to be the woman you are today?