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Celebrating women of character, courage and commitment
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As the month of March wraps up, so does this year's Women's History Month - but that doesn't mean the celebration should end. Although the majority of my columns throughout Women's History Month have focused on the many struggles continually facing women today, I want to use this last column as an opportunity to celebrate the courage of everyday women within our own community.

While last year's theme highlighted women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, this year's theme focused on "Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment" - something that I believe we should do throughout the whole year, not just one month. Whether an educator, a mother, a community leader, a politician, a grandmother, an entrepreneur or business leader, these are "everyday women" whose tenacity and determination should be celebrated by all of those whose lives they have touched.

Throughout my own life, many strong, beautiful and courageous women have helped shape me into the young woman that I am today. While it is important to celebrate the historical achievements of women like Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Sacajawea, Gloria Steinem and many others, it is equally as important to celebrate the women who have acted as mentors throughout our personal lives.

About a week ago, my mom and I got into one of the biggest (and only) fights we've ever had in my adult life. When I was younger, this type of argument with my mother would result with me stomping up to my room and slamming my door, huffing and puffing empty threats of "running away." My mother and I have always had a wonderful relationship, but just like any mother and daughter, we've had our share of head-butting. But what made this argument different, I suppose, is the fact that I no longer live at home, and so angrily stomping out the door would have a majorly different effect than when I retreated to my bedroom as a child or teenager - resulting in a strained relationship; not just "no TV after dinner."

But despite my feelings of anger and frustration in the heat of the moment that brought forth the old-familiar urge to stomp off and leave, I didn't. Not because "I'm so mature now," (I might be an ‘adult' but still have some maturing to do, which is what caused the fight to begin with), but because I didn't want to lose my relationship with my mother. This is the woman who not only changed my dirty diapers and comforted me after my first ‘broken heart,' but is the woman who has also been the primary example to me as to what a strong and courageous woman of character looks like - my source of guidance and inspiration. We might not always see eye-to-eye on everything, but I wouldn't be who I am, or where I am, without her.

I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have that type of relationship with their own mother, but I certainly think that almost everyone has had at least one woman in their life that has been just as influential - whether their grandmother, aunt, teacher, mentor, sister...what have you. And as Women's History Month comes to an end, I urge you to find that "everyday" woman in your own life, give her a hug, and say "thank you for being a woman of character, courage and commitment."

Happy Women's History Month to all the women of Ceres and our surrounding community.