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On International Women's Day

Posted on Wednesday March 08, 2017 at 11:11AM

I have had the honor of knowing some fine women during my time. It seems like today would be the best time I could think of to introduce you to them. Let's start with the most obvious, my mother, Bea Paxman. She was tough, because she had to be. She worked hard, didn't like to cook or bake, didn't like to ride on tractors, and as far as I know was not one for helping on the farm. She had a wit though, sharp and bright like those little shiny metal tacks I used to pull out of my bare feet when we cleaned the school where she was janitor. She was tough to ignore, and she raised me to believe I could do anything, could be anything if I just worked hard. She believed it for me, and managed to convince me she was right, even though she had so many dreams she let go. She told me once she never thought she was smart enough to be a nurse, although that was her dream. She was wrong about that. She was so very smart.  Still she taught me, and I believe it still, that the person most responsible for your place in the world is you. I'm grateful for that.

Grandma Solomon was the most nurturing woman I knew. From the time I was little, I was safe in her arms. She was fluffy and soft, baked and cooked beautifully, always encouraging, and always on my side. When I got divorced she never mentioned the ex by name to me again. He was known only as "HIM" and she only ever referred to him when asking if he was fulfilling his obligations to his daughter. It was so endearing, to not have to defend myself. It was so lovely to always be so loved. I always felt like she was my biggest fan, even though she had so many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. A true matriarch; she was my safe place to land.  I miss her still.

The women I know that built businesses from the ground up...I know so many of those, it is impossible to name them all here...they are the ones with the big lady balls. They are seemingly unafraid to take risks, and present as such professionals. They are my mentors, my business associates, professors and  fellow students in the MBA in CED program. Some of these women are on their second and third degrees, assured, confident and very, very smart. Some are immigrants, some are first generation Canadians, some have backgrounds that make one wonder how they ever got to where they are now.  They have all supported and helped me to move along with my studies in one way or another, and I came to understand a whole new language between women--one based on goal setting, objectives and supporting one another to be great.

The women I know who shelved their dreams to be the very best stay at home moms they could possibly be have a special place in my heart. I know a lot of those women too. They have huge hearts, they have schedules that make me weep from exhaustion just to read them, and they always seem to have room for one or two more. They start their day before anyone else, and they fall into bed after the house is finally quiet. They live for their kids, for all of the hockey games, and school plays. They are there to shuttle them back and forth, to make sure they've eaten, to take care of their homes, and to be there as a calm loving presence. I'll bet none of them ever yelled at their kids the way I yelled at mine in an effort to do it all, and to be it all. I've long admired those that can do it with so much panache it seems effortless. I so admire those moms.

I could go on. I think it is your turn now. Tell me about the women in your life. The ones you admire, the ones that supported you, and the ones you love. On International Women's Day, let's celebrate women.

Author: Solomon Matthewson Consulting

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