Celebrating Strong Women: Grateful for Strong Legacies

IMG_3325This week, it is my pleasure to introduce my sister-in-law, Mary Beth Rim. Mary Beth is delighted and honored to participate in Celebrating Strong Women. She is a filmmaker and accountant currently residing in Media, Pennsylvania. She loves life, loves goodness and loves happy endings.

Grateful for Strong Legacies

My journey is not one of enormous struggle or enormous success. It is not one of divine inspiration or aha moments. I come from a white middle class family, had the opportunity for top education, the opportunity to travel, the opportunity and encouragement to follow my dreams. My life has had the privileges of many middle class Americans and I do not take this for granted. I am very grateful.  My journey has been only 38 years long and much road is yet to come. Full of all the laughter, tears, betrayals, triumphs and lessons that 38 years can offer, here is where I stand…

I live in Media, Pennsylvania in a cozy house tucked in the woods with my husband Brad, our two children Grace Eve (6) and Rosalie Elle (2), and our Chihuahua Emma Marie (8). As the majority of names imply, our house is full of an abundant amount of females. I must also mention, my youngest sister and niece are currently living with us.  A 6:1 female to male ratio. Brad deserves a medal.  

Many amazing, wise women have shaped who I am and have influenced me in everything from what perfume to wear to what social justices to fight for. I’d like to highlight several of them from my paternal and maternal lineage.

To start off, hanging above me as I type is a framed picture and newspaper article of my paternal Grandmother. In 1920, and only 8 years old, she took a boat from Italy to Ellis Island. She went on to make history by being the first woman to receive her insurance license in the State of Pennsylvania. In 1940, she opened her own business and became a woman ahead of her time. She was a pioneer and blessed with bravery. As a child I just knew her as my mom-mom. A women who made her own clothes and the best food I ever tasted. She carried small Snickers bars in her hand bag and went to church every morning. She was not to be reckoned with and had an intimidating presence. I never felt entirely close to her, but I always had enormous respect for her. She passed her bravery and adventure along to her daughter, my beloved Aunt, who left the East Coast and settled in Oklahoma where she ran her own business and supported her husband in his political pursuits. After the passing of her husband, she raised their two boys alone. My Aunt was my idol and I often dressed like her and wore my hair exactly as she did. My Aunt always smelled like flowers and pretty women, and her home was full of beautiful antiques and books. She was strong, talented, classy and an amazing mother. I would count the minutes until we saw each other again. And when we did, my eyes went googley. I still adore and admire her and she has much wisdom left to bestow on me.

My maternal grandmother was a radio show actress, had green eyes and red hair. She was kind, always politically correct and incredibly nurturing. She was the kind of women who made jello molds and tuna fish casseroles. She wrote humorous scripts alongside of keeping journals full of adorable things her three children would say. To me she was super fun. We would sleep over, stay up real late, watch Saturday Night Live and eat wheat thins. We played Boggle, Scrabble and hang man. I loved this woman and secretly always wanted to hear her curse, but she never did. (Sounds bizarre, perhaps I will delve into this strange desire in my next essay.) This woman passed her love of culture, love of literature and love of the arts onto her two daughters. My fantastically fun and creative maternal Aunt also ran her own business. A balloon making business! It was amazing. Her home was full of balloons and helium tanks and little toys to put inside the balloons. She loved me and my siblings, we could feel it, and we loved her right back. I always wanted to visit her in New Jersey and it still holds true to this day.

This brings me to my mother. My mother is real. She is human. She is constantly growing and learning from life. She gave me life and has taught me the most about it and I will be eternally grateful to her. She is like a hummingbird and her eternal love and belief in me is the most incredible feeling. May my girls be as lucky as to feel this from me.

These are just a handful of women who have touched me along my journey. I am lucky enough to have so, so many more. If anything, I am feeling so grateful. So unbelievably grateful to so many wonderful women in my life, my friends and family, who are the poets, the doulas, the bosses, the in-laws, the doctors, the moms, the activists, the teachers, the seekers, the children, the motivators, the fighters of illnesses, the daughters, the entertainers, the lawyers, the artists, the board members, the progressive thinkers, and to the wise women everywhere. I am grateful to them all and the mark they leave on me. I think that might be the key to my fulfilling journey thus far, to remain constantly grateful. I am excited for the future and the celebration it will hold.