To All the Girls I've Loved Before
Today is International Women’s Day. To be honest, I never really knew this was a thing until I lived and taught in Budapest, where everyone would bring flowers and chocolates for their female teachers. Boldog nő napot, you would hear being offered throughout the school. Happy Women’s Day. In that spirit, today I honor women who have impacted my life in different ways, women who have made me laugh, cry, and think, women who have molded and inspired me.
Since I joined Boeing 2 years ago, I’ve had four bosses, and all of them have been women. From Monica I learned how to use humor in appropriate moments and to my advantage. Stephanie, my first manager when I came back to Boeing full-time, was always direct and honest with me and went to bat for me like a protective mama bear every time I needed her. Mary C shows me enthusiasm and gives me great opportunities I’m probably not ready for. Kimmy talks with me about the Enneagram, always keeps her door open, connects me with incredible people, and reminds me through word and action, “we are in the inclusion business.”
I have known some incredible women in my life I count as dear friends. Bekah walked with me as we grew deeper in our budding faith together in high school and into the college years. Becca, Clare and Kaitlin were like sisters to me in college as we experienced the professional world for the first time together. They were (and are) hard-working, passionate people who I learned a lot from, and we laughed the whole way through. It seems the present season is another time of “growing up” at Boeing, and I get to do so in this rotational program with Shehnoor, Lauren, Karlie, and Sophie, incredibly talented women who have encouraged, taught, and partnered with me on some amazing projects… and that journey is just beginning.
Some of my favorite students in Hungary were young women – Sára, Anna, Teó, Zsófi – who were intelligent, who challenged me, and who will someday rule the world.
The women in my family, great matriarchs of our time, have shown me love, grace, and truth. Mary and Pat, my grandmothers, still set impeccable examples of how to love and serve people. Bets, oh my dear mother, you showed me grace from day one when I was too stubborn to come out on time and labored on anyway. You rubbed my back when I couldn’t sleep, cried with me when my heart was broken, and always promised that you were for me, and with me.
Kendahl, the dearest woman in my life, what can I say? You have shown me a love I could have never imagined. You have displayed an incredible grace and beauty that is truly effortless. Your deep faith is abounding and is a force in our household. You care for others. You listen. Kendahl, you are my better half, the picture of a Proverbs 31 woman.
All of these women—and certainly many more—have made a profound impact in my life, and I’m so fortunate to know them as I begin to raise my daughter. It is my hope and prayer that she grows up to become like all of you in the best ways. Thank you, dear women in my life, past and present, for teaching and showing me all you have so that Kendahl and I can, with any luck, help her to be the woman she is meant to become.