Saturday, May 9, 2015

A legacy of women

As we will be celebrating mother's day tomorrow, I've been thinking a lot about the women in my family - about the challenges they faced, the things they accomplished, the legacy they left me.

I knew three generations of women in my mother's family and heard stories of those who went before:

Nancy Krebs Pendley (1930-1983)
Florence Kurtz Krebs (1907-1988)
Gertrude Young Kurtz (
Anna Harvey Young (1953-1892)
Ann Bell Harvey (1811-1901)

I know far less about the women in my dad's line, but have many memories of my grandmother, for whom I was given my middle name.  I'm continuing to learn what I can about the women who came before her.

Jane Hutchinson Pendley(1903-1979)
Taken at Slide Rock in 1954

Edith Thomas Hutchinson (1873-1910)
Caroline Goss Thomas (1829 - 1896)

I also think about my granddaughters- Kaylie, Alex and Chesilee-  and wonder what their lives will be like - if they will be mothers and if so, what challenge they may face:

The role and expectations for women has changed a great deal over time.  The opportunities open to me and the responsibilities I shouldered have been incredibly different from those of my grandmother and great grandmother, let alone those who went before.  The world my grand-daughters are growing up in is shifting even more.   And yet, in some ways we are all very much the same.  We all long to be loved, to have our families be safe, to make our mark in the world.

As women we learn we can do hard things.  We learn that feelings matter.  We learn how we care for each other - our mothers and our daughters, shapes and defines who we are.

I never raised a daughter.   While I do have a sister who is precious to me now, she was younger, so most of my growing up was more influenced the the brothers born on either end of my arrival.  I have often joked that growing up with brothers and raising only son I have no idea what it is like to live in a house with the toilet seat down.

But through my relationship with my sister, my granddaughters, and innumerable friends I have learned much about the power of bonds between women that I never fully appreciated with my own mother.

So when I celebrate mothers day it is for all the powerful girls and women in my life and those in the generations who came before.   These relationships have blessed me in more ways than I can say.

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