Yesterday was International Woman’s Day and in many places throughout the day, the media mainly celebrated the strong, inspiring ladies from the news headlines. But actually, while I found it a contrived name for a day, I did ponder on the strong, inspiring women who have influenced my life. But they have not been famous ladies in the media spotlight, they have been women that I have known personally….
Of course the first would have to be my own mother : she has been a constant source of support to me all of my life. She has set me such an example in terms of being a working mum and of course, latterly, as a carer when my Dad developed dementia. Nobody could have cared for him better and that is what I would want my legacy to Joshua to be too – not to complain that he is a burden but to care for his every need out of love, that is what Mum has taught me. I overheard her telling the Minister, when Dad died, that it had been a ‘privilege’ to care for him and that really touched me, as I honestly feel the same way about caring for Joshua. Who would not feel blessed to have Joshua as their son?
I worked hard at school but that was not down to an inspirational teacher to be honest, the drive to work hard came from home exclusively, and then continued on through university. So my inspirational women are close to me and I always admired my best friend at University : she had the bottle to go off travelling around the world after graduating, before Gap Years became common. She always has had the confidence to work for a few years/months, to save up for her next adventure, hand in her notice then go travelling again, knowing that she would find another job when she returned. As someone who has worked at the same company for 26 years, that is inspiring and ‘brave’ to me.
My mentor at work was a man, he taught me everything that I needed to know about market research and how to behave in the world of work, as he was my first employer and I miss him very much still. But now the women that I am in awe of, work at Joshua’s special school : they have tireless enthusiasm, energy and skill with the vulnerabe children in their care. They take them under their wing but at the same time, allow them to stretch their wings in a way that we parents might be more afraid to do. They see the potential in the children who would struggle in the mainstream world and they work their utmost to help their pupils to fulfil that potential. It is not a job in a special school, but it looks like a vocation, from the outside looking in, and I find it a privilege to witness the small miracles that are achieved everyday at Joshua’s school.
I am sure that there will be other women that I should have celebrated on International Woman’s Day, but these are the ones that have touched my life most.