regina-gale-authorMarch is Women’s Month. Much of the accolades go to names of women who have recognition due to celebrity, civic or professional status. This is good. All women should be recognized for the outstanding accomplishments the have made as women. Many times in the past, numbers of women have not received credit for the contributions they have made, sometimes at great sacrifice to themselves.

I was fortunate to kick off the month with a poetry reading where I emphasized that it was Women’s Month. Women need women in their lives almost as much as they need water to drink so that they stay hydrated and refreshed.

Personally, I think that the most important women that each of us should celebrate are the ones that have touched our lives intimately. The women who have poured knowledge into us. The women who always give us hope and a bit of understanding when we needed it most. The women who have shown as through example how one survives the trials one may face in life. The women who were, and are willing and ready to hold your hand when lonely and confused. The women who pushed you forward and gave you the type of support that led you to knock down a barrier that had been holding you back. The women who celebrate you as a woman.

All women have been touched by someone. Sometimes we can’t see the importance of the interaction until many years later. I’d like to share a relationship that started in 1985 that I still cherish today.

In 1985, I got married and moved to Newark, California. This was the first time in my life that I would live somewhere that I had no family or ties to anyone except the man I was to marry. My aunt reached out to a woman she had met at a Teachers convention years before and they exchanged Christmas cards over the years. They were both educators. She called Jean, who lived in Newark and asked her to “watch over my child.” My aunt was like a second mother to me, and I am so grateful that she cared enough to reach out for me.

About a month after I had made the move to Northern California, my doorbell rang. I opened the door and was greeted graciously and lovingly by this little woman so full of energy. She told me that Aunt Verna had called her and sent her to me. She came prepared. I could not help but notice that she had placed bags and boxes of goodies and material on my doorstep, as I helped bring in the unknown treasures. We sat down for tea (she loves a good cup of tea) and she gave me her heart. That was the beginning of our relationship which has blossomed over 32 years

Jean is one of the strongest most interesting women I know. Her life not always easy, but she always made it work. Jean has a way of bringing out the best in those around her and has a giving spirit. Just the mention of her name be it from a past student, a local politician or one of the many people involved in civic and social organizations will let you know she is a gift to the community of mankind.

My blessing was the fact her bond with another woman, my aunt, allowed me to establish a relationship that I consider as close as family, and is as precious as if it were a blood relationship. I remember going over her house through the years and she would have pictures of my child on the mantle along with her grandchildren. I became her surrogate child.

My mother, my aunt and so many of the women who were my “sheroes” and life teachers and supporters are gone. It has been 32 years since Jean “came a calling” and is still in my life although I now reside in North Carolina. We have a bond of love and respect that will never be broken.

I encourage you to let the women in your life know how they contribute to your life while you can. Women need women and although we should celebrate that every day, we all understand that life keeps us rather busy so at once a year in March we should take a pause and make a list of those who have touched our lives.

Always in love,

Regina Gale

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