A Tribute to My Mom on International Women’s Day

I grew up in an immigrant family. I am Danish by birth and my parents immigrated to Canada with two children and then added to the brood while they established themselves in this country. She spoke not a word of English when she arrived; however, got enrolled right away in a school to learn English.

My mother fought for and stood by me so I could get an education. You see, good Danish girls finished high school and then set about getting married. She found the extra dollars so I could go to university and chase my cherished dream of becoming a teacher.

My mom, now 86, has two types of dementia. She is/was such a light in our home and she especially focussed on her two daughters, born 13 years apart. Her daughters were going to get the education she did not. Although her formal education was minimal, she had a growth mindset.

As my mom aged, she made decisions to forge friendships, compete in sport as a senior, cross country skied, hiked, and rode her bike in many different provinces and countries. She has/had a strong sense of who she was/is and what is important to her. It is due to her example that I do many of the same things now as I move into the latter part of my 60s.

She taught each of us the meaning of purposeful work. Whether I was a banquet waitress or a teacher or a Board member or a facilitator or a speaker or a coach or someone who started an online business, she was both a cheerleader and a proponent of work on what you love and give it your best.

The most important gift she shares and demonstrates to her four children, our families, our friends and their families, her friends and their families is her expansive love. My mom continues to find something to love in everyone and regularly demonstrates forgiveness when her heart hurts.

The 2022 United Nations theme for International Women’s day, gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow, lived in our home.She raised her four children so they all understood there was no gender gap in our home. We all got to do dishes, clean floors, tidy cupboards, wash windows, dig wells for water, pound nails. It taught us all that we could contribute. Gender was not a boundary to contribution.

Mom instilled the belief in each of us we can always learn and contribute. We can reach beyond where we are now. This belief propelled me to begin an online business at the age of 65.

Hence, I reach out to each of you weekly, knowing deep in my soul, women matter. In particular, women over 50 matter. We can all contribute to gender equality because when we do, we build a sustainable culture where all citizens contribute.

Thanks mom. I am grateful you’re my mom.

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