A tribute to some of the most powerful women I know – by Gina Miranda

To be told that I may never have a child was devastation. It crushed me. And for a long time I worried about it.

And then to find out that I was pregnant when I wasn’t even trying to be. The light turned back on. There was always only ever one choice for me. LIFE!!

And what a joyous life it is. She chose me!

For nine months I protected you. I did everything I could to keep you safe.

I got sick. I got tired. I got weak. I got worried. I got scared.

Could I DO this? Could I be a mother? Now that I had decided to do it, could I actually DO this?

I looked to my life for support.

My mom.
Aunty Alma.
Aunty Ingrid.

My rocks, the foundation on which I was built.  Together they are the most powerful women I know. My source of inspiration.

My mother has been through it all, and she gave it all up for us. Tirelessly, in spite of her demons. She did whatever she could to the most of her ability to keep us safe. She helped me grow, she let me fall, she never picked me up, but rather taught me to get myself back up. For that I shall always be grateful. She let me get hurt and I learnt that all wounds heal with time, and that it was important to take the time to heal. And it was more important to hurt, for it allowed me to heal, and heal completely. So that I was stronger and the scars remain to remind me how painful life can be. So that I know how to protect myself from it. She let me make my own choices and taught me the importance of making wise choices. She let me make mistakes, so that I can learn from them.

Aunty Alma, my God mother, my fairy God mother. The lap I lay on so many times as a child. The ever smiling face, her arms were always open for a hug. She taught me to laugh and laughed with me. She brings light to my childhood memories and I remember only being happy around her. She was a mother to me just as much as my own mother was. She embodies happiness. She gave up herself for her children. Her focus was her family.

Aunty Ingrid, always clam and wise. I admire her strength and wisdom. she always seemed to know what to do and what not to do. Always encouraging, always supportive. No dream of mine was foolish or unattainable. I COULD do anything because she believed in me, and so I believed in me. She lost a child, a thought that I find unfathomable, a tragedy that I feel would destroy me. And yet she lived, and went through that loss and that pain and never shut down. She raised three other children to become successful adults with a grace and calm that only she possesses. I know she still misses that angel that watches over us. Mary-zu we all love and miss you.

Nana, Mother of nine! The glue that kept the family together. She NEVER stops, even now at her age, she is still Mother. Still caring and nurturing. She has that smile that reflects in her eyes so that they twinkle. She taught me to look after myself. To eat right as much as you can and nourish the body, so that it can nourish the soul. She never tires, she put food on the table that made us smile for days after it was eaten. Her sole purpose in life was to look after us all, children and grandchildren alike.

Mama, my Rock! I miss you Ma… There are no words to explain the bond I had with her. None. She was more than my rock. She was my inspiration. My muse. My guide. She taught me everything she could. She lied to protect me because she didn’t want to see me hurt but she also pinched me, to discipline me! She hugged to comfort me. She smiled to make me laugh. She shared her wisdom with me any chance that she got. She gave me the biggest gift of all. She taught me to love. I always knew I wanted a love like hers, a relationship like theirs. Unconditional. Her love for him, the one and only man in her life, her all. I knew that I wanted that when I grew up and that I would try never to compromise on that. Love with all your heart she said, no matter what, unconditionally! Love the person for who they are, not what they have, their faults and their strengths. Never give up, for anything in life that was worth it she said, was worth fighting for. She never knew her mother, she lost her at a young age but she raised her own on her own as best as she could, with an iron fist and a tough heart, with Papa by her side. And when she lost him she didn’t think she could go on. I saw the devastation in her eyes and she told me never to give my heart to one man because he will have the power to hurt you like no other. She taught me to love and then showed me how painful love can be. Her loss was immense and she couldn’t hide her pain. He was her life and it was unbearable for me to watch her go through that pain and loss. But she kept going because her love for us kept on growing. She lived a life of servitude, nursing everyone around her to good health and good spirits. That toothless smile, her face would collapse into itself and I would laugh. She is my angel. She was the strongest person I know.

And if they could do it, then so could I. For I came from them. Everything I know I learnt from one of them. Each one a star in her own right, a light that shines so bright it breaks through any darkness. A flame that cannot be put out. They have endured it all, the tears, the pain, the hurt, the doubt, the worries, and they embraced it and they came out on top. With role  models like this how could I fail?

I felt that baby grow and with each day that passed I knew I would be ok. I felt that baby move inside me and I knew that no matter what happened I would NEVER stop trying my best. I would always give it my all as these women in my life had done. Family would always be first I was going to be a mom and I knew I would always try to be the best mom I could be. I couldn’t wait for her to get here!

I remember the fight to bring her into this world. Nothing is ever easy with me but it was the first fight I was willing to fight. And when I held her for the first time in that hospital room I knew I would never stop fighting for her. She is the only fight worth fighting for. To keep her safe, to keep her happy, to help her grow and learn as I did. I would teach her to walk, to run, to fly, to fall and get back up, to always laugh, to always believe in herself, to look after her body so her body can nourish her soul, to love with wild abandon, unconditionally and not fear the pain and hurt that love can bring, to fight for family, as I  will always fight for family, for her.

I had no idea how amazing it is to be a mother till I had her. I know now why moms do what they do, the sacrifices, the hugs, the endless effort, only a mother will understand where that strength comes from… only a mother will know what it’s like to hear your baby cry and the anguish it causes knowing they are in discomfort.

Only a mother would know the panic she goes through at the thought of her child not being safe, the worry and the fierce passion to always make things better for them.
Only a mother would understand that bond that grows when that child in growing within you.
Only a mother would understand how powerful that bond is and what she is willing to give up and what she is willing to go through for that child.

She is my world. She brings joy and meaning to my life. She makes me want to be the best person I can be. I learn from her, her innocence in this jaded world is inspiring and keeps hope alive. She is beautiful and pure. She makes me want to be the best mother I can be. She forgives me my mistakes and short comings and loves me no matter what. She makes me believe again and dream, as I did when I was a child. Anything is possible. We have the same goal to be a family, to love and help each other grow.

I will forever be grateful to the women in my life, for teaching me how to be a mom. There are many from whom I draw inspiration, the pillars that held up our house. The hearts and souls that made that house our home. To all the Mother’s in my life, you know who you are, thank you for all that you have done, all that you do and all that I know you will continue to do. You inspire me. You motivate me. You give me direction, and hope. You guide me when I feel I might be getting lost. You taught me that it’s ok to make mistakes because no one is perfect, but that it is important to learn from them and at the end, you can only do your best.

Thank you for always giving  it your all and doing so tirelessly.
I salute you.

Happy Mother’s day.