Can you name the women who helped make you YOU?
This Women's History Month, I've been pondering the idea quite a lot. I recently posed the question to my mom, Cheryl Rowe - the woman who made me ME.
Here we are in 1986, reviewing one of the first stories I wrote as a member of the Bethany Young Author's Club. (If I recall, I was the youngest member - age 6 in this pic.) Both a first-grade teacher and reading specialist, my mom was a stellar critique partner...
Seeking to learn still more from the woman who taught me almost everything, I posed the question to her: "Which women have most influenced you? It can be anyone - a family member, a teacher, someone from history, someone from popular culture."
Mom's thoughtful reflection revealed things I didn't know about the women closest to me in my family tree - including my nana, Shirley, who I thought I knew quite well. Here's young Shirley Fearn...
In the anecdotes my mom shared, I see bits of her, bits of me, and bits of my daughters: A love of writing... a love of music... and a reputation for hearty hugs. I hope you enjoy this guest post from my mom.
In Cheryl's words...
The women who have impacted my life most are my grandmothers and mother. No authors, celebrities, educators - just three loving ladies, who probably were not even aware of their direct or indirect influence, much like many other mothers and grandmothers throughout the ages.
My grandmother Ruth Traughber kept a journal throughout her life. It was a short life but filled with joy, challenges of motherhood, fears and sorrows. I was only two years old when she passed on. Nevertheless, I can meet her in journal entries that reflect her journey. Her dreams, thoughts and pains are found on those wonderful pages. I kept a diary in middle school, then took a break. Marriage and children found me again recording my own life experiences. My journal format has changed over the years: a prayer journal, gratitude journal and detailed accounts of life experiences. Someday someone may desire to read my ramblings. I thank you, Grandma, for showing me the power of words.
My grandmother Lola Fearn influenced my faith journey. Throughout my childhood and young adult years, I witnessed her faith. She celebrated others' joys, chose happiness, attended Bible Study groups, was active in her Body of Christ, and filled her Bible with personal notations. More importantly, Grandma reflected this love. She could make people laugh, loved to dance and sing, and gave us hearty hugs. I am sure the ladies she cared for at the Eastern Star Nursing facility appreciated her bubbly personality as she shared her love. Grandma, thank you for showing me Christian faith in action and how to embrace life.
My mother Shirley Fearn Traughber termed herself ‘somewhat of an introvert.' She was quiet and uncomfortable around strangers or casual acquaintances. I chose to overcome introversion for myself and, indirectly, for her. It was never an easy journey. Uncomfortable actually. Somewhat reluctantly, it began in Indiana. After graduation I chose Indiana State University - far from home where I knew no one. I intentionally took on this challenge. I made new friends and experienced the joy of facing the unknown. Today, I actually enjoy meeting new people and sharing in new experiences. The world is full of endless opportunities. Mom's honesty and self-awareness encouraged me to grow and view obstacles as challenges to meet head on.
Thank you, Mom, for these beautiful accounts. I wholeheartedly believe that writing often, loving big and speaking truth are traits that will continue to pass from generation to generation.