My mother passed away in 2008. She was independent, smart, strong, regal and quietly thoughtful...almost the exact opposite of me in every way, and I didn't come to fully appreciate who she was until quite awhile after she died. My dad gave me her wedding rings while we were cleaning out her things one day, and I have been hesitant to wear them. But a few months ago, I felt a yearning to have part of her near me...to channel my "inner Dollie", so I started wearing them. I don't wear them everyday, but occasionally when I need a little extra "something" or when I am feeling especially sentimental (when am I NOT feeling that way?), I pull her rings out of their little red box and put them on. I feel her strength almost immediately. Lately, though, it's hard to tell if it's HER strength or MINE.
I have three unbelievable sisters-in-law. Not having sisters of my own, they have been a HUGE blessing and influence in my life. They are remarkable women...all completely different...but the fact that we've married four brothers who are eerily similar gives us an emotional connection that we wouldn't otherwise have. I consider them my greatest friends and take great comfort in knowing that no matter how far apart we live, or how long it's been since we've seen each other, we will always have an eternal connection.
I have a niece who I have known my entire life. Our friendship comes and goes depending on our life circumstances and distance. She is, without question, the smartest woman I know...seriously! Her character is like my mother's...strong, capable, articulate. She does things in her daily life that I could never dream of doing (and still be able to cook dinner at the end of the day!) I have been in awe of her greatness for years and inspired by her many, many times throughout my life.
The list of influential women in my life is ENDLESS...there have been many...friends, acquaintances, neighbors, teachers, co-workers. Some have stayed for a long time and others only for a little while, but each of them has left an impression. Some, through the miracle of the internet (namely Facebook!) have come back after a long time of being gone. You never know how people will be woven in and out of the fabric of your life..(oh, no! in a minute I'm going to start singing a song about cotton...)
Our family recently relocated to Texas after having lived in Utah for 7 years. I still mourn for some of the friendships that have already faded or will eventually fade. But just yesterday, I looked around at the great women who surround me in this new place, and I am once again in awe. They are totally different... from each other...from the women I've known in other places I've lived...but equally amazing and gifted with their own great talents and abilities. I look forward to the influence they will be in my life and in the lives of my family, and I feel blessed and honored to be numbered among them for the time that we're here.