>(Part of this is included on my post at BlogHer.)
In my family, my mom (and dad) worked hard to do the best she could for her daughters. I learned that even if a job is tough, one sticks it out so that she can take care of her own. From my aunt, I learned that it is also important to work on behalf of others who were less privileged than our middle-class family. My aunt was a VISTA volunteer with Haitian refugees in Florida, and went on an educational mission to Cuba. She dedicated her career as a teacher to children with behavioral and learning disabilities in the lowest income communities around Chicago. That meant speaking up when she felt other professionals were not working in the best interests of a child, even if it earned her enemies and made her own life more difficult. My aunt also took my sister and I under her wings, and is a fantastic mother to her own daughter.
While I meet my mother-in-law until I began dating my future husband when I was 19, I immediately bonded with her over feminism. When she noticed that I wore a women's emblem (the symbol of Venus) on a necklace, and asked me if I was a feminist. When I enthusiastically said yes, she gave me her full approval. A few years later, she wistfully mentioned that she was interested in attending the March for Women's Lives to protest the Bush administration's attacks on reproductive rights, and I said that we needed to go together. Attending the march with Pat (and about 1,000,000 other men and women) was one of the most inspiring moments of my life.
Now that my friends are starting to have kids of their own, too, I'm happy and excited to see the fantastic work they are doing in raising strong children who are as committed to making the world a better place for women (and men).
Rock on, ladies. I love you.