There are a lot of strong women in my family.
My father’s mother is the one captured in the photograph, Zonia Rosa Heredia. I never really got to know her because she died when I was very young. But I do have small memories of her.
She often argued with my mother (a strong woman) over the toys she wanted to give me. I remember her winning one particular battle, as a small plastic Wonderwoman figurine slid into my hand. She desperately wanted me to have it.
She came to the U.S. alone when she was 14, and joined the first unit of women within the United States Army. She raised three very strong-willed boys, and put up with my grandfather who was quite the stubborn mule himself.
My mother’s mother is similar. Today she is 74, and sharper in mind than most teenagers. When I call we debate politics, romance and spread family gossip. I have only met her twice in my life, and I am the only one of us three kids who keeps in contact with her.
She has four kids, one of which is my mother who is equally as strong, and they don’t get along. It’s always been ironic to me the very things my mother can’t stand about her own mother – are the very traits she emulates. I guess to a degree, we all do that.
My mother. The strongest of all women. I always say this, and it’s always been true. There isn’t anything my mother can’t do, and do perfectly. If the roof has a leak (she can’t fix) she’ll make a call. Then she’ll be on the roof watching and learning so she can do it herself the next time. Within a year of any sales position she began, she rose to #1 without batting an eyelash. When I was younger she’d be putting on makeup, drinking coffee, eating breakfast all while shifting gears in her Toyota through the curvy mountain roads at top speed.
She refuses to gossip – which hasn’t won her a lot of friends, and she’s a loner at heart, but loves socializing with people she can gain knowledge from. She’s always been eager to learn.
My sister. Another incredible and strong woman. She’s always blown me away with her fierce confidence in herself, her body image and the goals she sets for herself. She’s very similar to my mother. She can balance five things at once, and put on her syrupy sweet face on command (something I desperately want to learn). She’s beautiful and magical, yet full of fire.
I say all this because while looking at this picture of my grandmother today, I was reminded of all these amazing women in my family. Are they perfect? Far from it. They all carry or carried a significant amount of pain, but the largest similarity amongst them is their tenacity to continue on. They never gave up.
Life has been really stressful and tough for me since Christmas. Some personal events within my family crushed my heart, and I’ve been doing my best to pull those pieces back together ever since. I’m not one who shares her strife until the lesson is being learned or the mending is being done. Fortunately, they are.
But the women before me never crumbled. They faltered and fell, got lost and didn’t think they’d make it back….but they always did. And I will too.
I’m so thankful for my life, my family, the blessings I have and I’d be a fool not to acknowledge it. I have a lot to live up to, but I can do that!