The other night I saw a commercial that made my heart swell with pride to be a woman. Upon reflection, Microsoft's salute to heroic women not only caused me to be grateful for the women who have demonstrated extreme bravery in the past one year, such as the women that the commercial highlighted, but also resulted in feelings of pride for the everyday bravery that I have seen women in my own life display.
I'd like to acknowledge the bravery shown by the women in my immediate sphere of influence, women that I call friends. Among them are women who have battled and beaten breast cancer, earned doctorates and law degrees, studied ancient languages while walking in the shadow of the Parthenon, breastfed in public, run a half-marathon for clean water in Africa, given birth in their own homes, worked undercover with the FBI to gather evidence against a child-abusing family member, donated to breast milk banks, survived the loss of a child, saved money to adopt a toddler from Haiti, published novels, home-schooled their children, served as presidents for their organizations of interest, become a finance department director with a high school education, revitalized a stagnant educational curriculum in a school system, started their own businesses, battled infertility, joined the military, lost their homes to a tornado and picked up the pieces, campaigned via the media for funding for the arts, left unhealthy relationships, moved alone across the country to get a doctorate at MIT, recovered from broken hips/arms/elbows, raised special needs children with joy, awareness, sensitivity, and a warrior's heart, cared for their partners during long-term disability and terminal illnesses, and come out to their families about their GLBT orientation. If these acts don't require bravery and determination, then I don't know what does. This post is my opportunity to give a standing ovation to the women in my life, and the men who cheer them on, as they effect positive changes within their communities, which is really where change typically begins. As the commercial states, I salute each of you and bid you to continue your deeds in the next year and the next. Glass ceilings are breaking all around us, and others are begging to be broken. My thanks to you, ladies.