Today is a really special day and I need to take a second to spread the word of my inspiring GM because today is her birthday. I’m going to take today to act like that proud Mom who boasts about her newborn baby who is already fluent in 4 languages (English, French, Spanish, and American Sign Language) and will of course change the world because their baby is God’s Gift. The only difference is GM is actually kind of that amazing. GM, short for Grandmama (or General Manager), is the head matriarch of our giant family. She is someone who has taught me a thing or two about hosting a party and being the belle of the ball all the while laughing and not sweating the small stuff. But most importantly, she is a serious bad ass woman.
GM went back to college, as a mother of 3, to get her B.A. in Journalism/Communications. After that she went to get her law degree! But oh she didn’t stop when she passed the Bar exam, she became the first woman City Council member of Tustin in 1978 AND THEN the first female Mayor. SAY WHAT! I know! Ladies you really can have it all.
Besides being one of the most intelligent and witty people I know, GM has a fierce love for family. On my Mom’s side of the family we know practically all of our second, third, fourth, and twice/thrice removed cousins/aunties/and uncles. That’s just how GM is. She reaches out to everyone who just may or may not be related and throws a party. She’s baptized almost all of our friends, at a drinking fountain in Nordstrom (long story), into our family and is the most inclusive person I have ever known. She taught me one of the most important lessons I have ever learned, surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed and who want to have a good time while you work your way there. (And that there is no holiday that shouldn’t revolve around Sees Candy. Because that’s just the way we roll.)
Our family vacations were nothing less than a hoot and a half filled with endless shenanigans and organized fun. We are talking art contests, pageants and plays, dance contests, baking contests, eating, jokes, hikes, and nature walks. We never flew anywhere; instead GM and Poppy ( My equally incredible Grandfather) would rent a giant van and pile everyone into it. Then we would go on road trips to Yosemite, The Grand Canyon, or Yellowstone and they would keep everyone entertained and laughing for thousands of miles. This blog post would be 80 days long if I were to describe the shenanigans we get ourselves into.
Shenanigans aside, I really wanted to celebrate GM today because there is something we all should learn from her and it’s that you can’t put yourself in a box. Don’t label yourself, categorize yourself, and never ever limit yourself. If you want something you can always go after it. You’re never too old to go back to school. You’re never too old to begin a new career. You have to believe in yourself and you have to see your value. You can’t be afraid to ask for help or to step up and help someone else. Be the resource you need for others.
There’s no doubt I am the way I am solely because I grew up surrounded by women who were continuously breaking the glass ceiling. Women who wouldn’t let me forget that people fought for what I have. But women, you can have it all (whatever “it all” is). You can have a family and a career. You can have a powerful career and a husband or wife. I look at my GM and Poppy and they have this strong relationship. When they were dating and my Grandfather (we will call him Poppy) he was away at war. They wrote letters to each other every single day. They have every single one of their letters to this day. And their marriage wasn’t easy. No marriage is but he supported her when she went back to school. He supported her when she decided to run for office. He allowed her to shine and took a step back. We don’t support strong driven women enough. The world needs more teams and partnerships like that. If you are a woman I hope you always remember that your place is where you want it to be. As long as you can stand on your own two feet and honestly say you are happy then you are exactly where you are supposed to be. And who knows what will happen in 10 or 20 years. Cross that bridge when you get there. It’s never too late to go after something.
So here is to my incredibly inspirational GM who never ceases to amazing and motivate me. How lucky the world is to have women like GM in it. Go be incredible, the world needs you to be. Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.