Happy Anniversary! Here’s to the Women Who Made Me Strong

Two years ago today.  Wow.  Two years.  Time does slip like sand, doesn’t it?  Two years ago, I walked into a musty office in the basement of the Old Clinic Building to report for the beginning of my career.  I tried to appear well-prepared and confident, but I’m pretty sure I was just scared shitless.  I was just a kid in high heals with some pseudo-fancy diploma and a big smile.  Two years can change a lot though.  Now I have snazzy offices and actual responsibilities, but most importantly, an amazing cohort of women to look up to.

 

Now, I know, I’m not always happy with my job.  It’s high-paced, political, stressful and sometimes just emotionally draining.  My job not only thicken my skin and taught me how to take one on the chin, but also taught me a lot about accepting a smile across the table and sometimes even an arm around my shoulder.  I have learned so much by watching the women around me.  So today, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, I have to say Happy Anniversary to the women who made me strong.  

 

To Jackie, who radiates joy in the most pervasive and all-filling way.  When you’re around her, you can’t help but be brimming with sweetness (and not just because she offers candy with a smile at her desk).

 

To Alison, who taught me that sometimes you get to ride your bike to work in a skirt, especially if it gives you extra time to stop by Starbucks.  She also knows when to advise me to drink more and when I really just need to sleep.

 

To Malika, who juggles so many balls from family to work to moving to school, all while managing this wry smile.  I love that smile, especially when she tilts her head back to laugh.

 

To Marie, who shared her daughter’s art work with me.  A reminder of what really matters.  She also never fails to be happy for other’s successes, even when that means they are moving on with their lives.

 

To Shaina, who always finds something to compliment, even when I look like a hot mess, and feel even messier.

 

To Stacy, who makes people feel good when they are talking about money.  This is an incredible talent, that should never be underestimated.

 

To Alex, who has shown me how to live and how to treat people.  She embodies kindness and courage.  I know I can’t do her mentorship justice here, but she has undoubtably changed my life for the better.  She once bravely moved her family to Africa, consistently treats people with loving kindness and glows with pride over her 3 wonderful boys.  I hope my life can model that kind of bravery and love.

 

To Molly, who always seems to know when I need a hug or to sit in her comfy chair by the picture window to talk.  Molly really is wayyyy too cool for me, but she has never once acted like it.  This women has faced so much in the last year.  And while those stresses probably would have flattened me, she still seems to pass life’s good stuff around.

 

To Christina, her girls are beautiful, just like their mom.  Christina not only talks about positive change, but she sees that it comes true in her community.  I’m also infinitely grateful for our decorating rendezvous.

 

To Alice, the essence of strong yet gentle female leadership.  I admit, I still get tongue-tied and nervous around her.  She has this amazing presence about her, and is thoughtful and balanced (despite her statures, both career and height).

 

To both my retired Wanda’s.  You each have such amazing laughs.  They are soul filling, and I miss hearing them around the corner.  I just know you are both still filling the world with goodness, even in retirement. 

 

To Allie, who has moved on to other jobs, but is still one of the greatest friends a girl could ever ask for.  Love you to pieces.

 

There are too many good ‘uns to mention, and I do actually work with some pretty great men too.  But today, I want to say thanks to the women who have made me strong.  You’ve celebrated successes with me (like buying my first home) and stuck by me in the hard times (like having a horribly mean boyfriend).  You’ve taught me what I want my life to look like, and what it means to be a strong, beautiful, wonderful woman.  I’ll never be able to thank you for the joy you have brought me, but today, at least let me say, Happy Anniversary.

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