We wouldn’t be us without you. We wouldn’t be the leaders and the shakers and the movers and the doers had we not been seated in the front row to your leading and shaking and moving and doing. We have watched you, tirelessly, navigate a world that is so different now than then. We have heard your gracious, strong, wise, speech and benefitted from our proximity to you. You have navigated a world for us that we know nothing about, because you came before us. You led before us, you raised babies before us, you fell in love before us, and you figured it out so that our burden would be lessened. Thank you isn’t right, but that’s all we have.
In elementary school, you taught us colors and numbers, shapes and sizes, maths and letters, how to be a good friend and how to tie our shoes. In middle school, you taught us about friendship and fun, about kindness and inclusivity, about school-life balance, about the right things and the wrong wardrobes. In high school, you were our driving force, our biggest cheerleaders, and a lot of our reasons why. We fought with you, because you were wiser than us, had more boundaries than us, and navigated life before us, but we didn’t stop watching. We watched as you yelled and then as you explained why later, we watched as you cheered for us publicly and corrected us privately – you are the why. After high school, you navigated seasons of torrential downpour where we thought we were going to die and your words, “you ain’t seen nothin yet baby!” echoed the chambers of our heart’s walls.
You are the Grandmas, the Moms, the Big Sisters, the Aunties, the Mom’s best friends, and the Mentors we hope to be like one day.
We wouldn’t be us without you.
To the Women Beside Us:
Life is only good because you are walking it with us. Your constant showing up, checking in, compassion-driven sister-like selves are every day miracles and we have to count them as such. You show up in the dark, in the mess, in the hurt, in the mud, in the pain, and you do not leave when things get hard. When we can’t get out of bed you say “stand up,” and make it for us. When we can’t cook, you show up with dinner. When we just can’t, you show up with wine.
You help us move, you watch our babies, you pray for our Moms, and you recommend books you think we’ll enjoy – because you know us. You are the friends we need and the definitely the ones we want, and your sisterhood is not unnoticed. You show up when everyone else is busy showing off and don’t think for one second we are not grateful. You are this season’s hero and oh, do we need some heroes. You are the last minute “come over for dinner” texts, or “I picked you up ______ at the store because I saw you were out,” and “I know you’re having a bad day. Check your porch,” sentences. You are the shining stars of this season, and oh do we need some stars. You are bright and good and kind, and we are better that you are by our side.
We wouldn’t be we, without you.
To the Girls Behind Us:
We think about you every day. We think, “If I do this, then maybe one day, they can do that….” and we mean it. We dream for you, and hope for you, and plan for you, and pave ways for you just like the women before us paved ways for us. You are the dream. You are the hope. You are the real ultimate why.
I pray our speech is peppered with kindness so that you hear it and soak it in, and use it for good in the world. You are growing up in a time no one ever dreamed of, and you are leaders in your generation.
Here’s to you, girls.
May you always let passion push you, conviction compel you, and righteous anger energize you. May you be healers of wounds and righters of wrongs. May you weep with those who weep and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. May you sing songs of joy and talk down fear. May you dismantle abusive systems and silence lies with truth. May you shine like stars in a darkened generation…
…just like the ones before us, and the ones beside us.
For all the women, everywhere.
The Women in the Middle