An Open Letter to the Women Who’ve Made Me :: You Might Not Know This, but . . .


To the Women Who’ve Made Me,

You might not know this, but you have built me.


I can’t count how many times I’ve heard about how I looked in your eyes, and you changed forever. You say you never knew how to love until me. Do you know that I only know how to love because of you? You held up all of us, kept our little circus moving and growing. You are the glue, and nothing in my life passes without glimpses of your needed existence sprinkled throughout.

teacher students
Photo Credit Nery Montenegro


I stepped into that classroom, and you greeted me with a warm smile and quick laugh, giving me a place to learn and stretch my growing mind! I love to read, to write, to explore because you gave your time and love. You set a foundation for the rest of my education, one on which I’ve built dreams and hopes, faced challenges and met goals. Because of you, the world opened up!

Family Friend

You opened your home to me, full of angst and insecurities; you helped me navigate hormones and makeup. In a time when I couldn’t believe it, you gently reminded me of my mother’s love. You taught me there was life beyond the present season, taught me that love meant to speak truth even when it hurt. Your commitment to the health of my family got me through first crushes and the horrors of puberty! I know how to be a friend because you were a friend to us all.

girls talking lunch
Photo credit: Gradikaa


I can still feel the chill of the mountain stream and the smooth rocks under my feet. When I open that old Bible, the yellow leaf from that day still drops some of its dried crumbles. “Hold onto hope,” you said as you handed it to me. You showed me what it meant to love God with zeal, as if there were no one else to love. The way you opened your home, the way you cared runs in gold threads throughout my day-to-day. You listened, and that is most powerful.

friends hands raising arms women
Photo credit Nicole Honeywill

Best Friend

Thank you for knowing my secrets and hearing my heart. It is okay that you don’t always have words to trade for tears. Presence was and is our therapy. You text me funny memes, and I tell you when there’s food in your teeth. I confess my failures, and you remind me that I have grit and there is grace. You are my tribe, my sisterhood, my daily dose of laughter.


You just walked right into my garage, stuck out your hand, and said, “hi.” From that moment on, I wasn’t alone, and I will never again run out of sugar. We trade hot cups of coffee and care for kids and dogs. You gently step over the toys and laundry to check that I didn’t leave the stove on, and I know just where to find that extra key when you forgot something at home. You are the community that makes our house a home. 


Cheering me on has always seemed to come naturally to you. The love of a parent is foundational, but the love of an aunt is the mortar that keeps each brick steady as we grow. You step into my world and give it that tiny shift toward truth (the one that makes you so much family, and yet so much friend) that saves me. 

grandmother and grandchild playing
Photo credit William Krause


I can still hear you laugh as you welcomed the whole messy gaggle of us into your home. Warm beds and a Crock-Pot® of roast were your welcome committee. For hours, you played on the floor as we built towns and castles out of all of your old knick-knacks.

In the mornings when I sip hot coffee and hear the pop of the toaster, I close my eyes and remember how it felt to be in your warm house, full of adventure and love. You showed us what it meant to be celebrated.


We are the iron that sharpens iron. From the moment I walked in and saw you lying in my spot, head poking out like a tiny adorable raisin, I knew I had met my nemesis and my best friend. Our fights were almost as epic as our mischief, and we bonded under the strange link of DNA and childhood magic. You are my constant, my number one speed-dial, and the one who knows (and loves) who I am under all the facade. 


I watched you, your children racing through the restaurant doors, more of them than you had hands for. Whatever you said was imperceptible but effective. They straightened up and walked down the buffet line like a troop of dashing gentleman. Dignity and strength draped around you like a silk scarf, undeterred by their rowdiness, you inspire and challenge all of us to embrace and enjoy the gentle power of womanhood.


Womanhood has never been so celebrated in all of its diversity as it is in you. Beauty is in full array as you carry slimy earthworms and dress the dogs in tiaras and tutus. I celebrate my body because it made you, and I celebrate yours because it carries you. Everything you do makes me want to be fierce, gentle, and wise . . . . You make me a better woman.

Thank you for being vulnerable and real in your womanhood. 


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