Here's to the women in our lives

Honoring the women who have been influential in shaping us into who we are now and aspire yet to be is a great way to celebrate Mother's Day. Here are some ideas to help you recall and honor the great women in your life.

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  • I learned the virtue of women acting as mothers while I was losing my own. During my mom’s illness, it felt like I was constantly treading water and barely keeping my head above the surface. I struggled to maintain my school work in the midst of full-time worry. One student’s encouragement and understanding acted as a floatation device for me. She came to my rescue perhaps without even knowing it, lifting me up as my own mother would have.

  • Since my mom’s passing there have been persevering women, joyful women, exemplary women, even saintly women who have influenced my life. My story is not unique. This Mother’s Day celebrate all the women — mothers and otherwise — who have been influential in shaping you into who you are now and aspire yet to be. Here are some ideas to help you recall and honor the great women in your life.

  • First, we salute the women we may not know personally but we are nonetheless indebted to.

  • Historical women

  • These women broke down barriers and became pioneers showing us the way to follow. They:

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  • These heroes and so many others have made it easier to be a woman today. Teaching our daughters about the obstacles that don't exist because of these women honors them.

  • Next, we honor women we work for, live near, worship with and are related to. They mother us.

  • Peers

  • By their age these women may be peers, but by their example are teachers. Whether well known, or admired from afar, these companions:

    • Turn the other cheek when hurt or betrayed.

    • Go above and beyond their required duty.

    • Refuse to become bitter when plagued by death or disease.

  • To thank these exceptional women, let them know you appreciate their example. They will never suspect your admiration because of their fine character but nonetheless they will appreciate it.

  • Aunts

  • These are women in our families who go out of their way to serve. These relatives:

    • Share precious stories from our heritage.

    • Get through to our teenagers when we can’t.

    • Provide perspective, give hugs, listen and love.

  • Doing some reconnaissance to find out what guilty pleasure your auntie enjoys and pampering her with it will surely bring a gasp of delight this Mother's Day.

  • Matrons and Grandmothers

  • These are women who welcome us with arms worn soft by nurturing hundreds of others. These matriarchs:

    • Spoil us and brag about us.

    • Help with wiggly children during church or on an airplane.

    • Offer career and homemaking suggestions from their treasure trove of experience.

  • Sitting with, listening to and speaking respectfully toward these woman is a wonderful way to thank them for their years of service.

  • Sisters

  • Consider as sisters women who are part of our soul even before we meet. These allies:

    • Remember birthdays and anniversaries.

    • Give advice on how to potty train our toddler or get a teen to listen.

    • Show us how to accessorize our worn out wardrobe so we feel young again.

  • Use the Web to hunt down a favorite Golden Book you read together as kids or an ABBA song she loved as a teenager. Surprising your sis with a copy of it this Mother's Day will bring hugs and tears.

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  • Step-Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, Mothers-in-Law and Foster Mothers

  • These are women who generously come into our lives not by accident but by a desire to love. These ministering angels:

    • Pick-up where others have left off.

    • Open our minds to different experiences and ways of doing things.

    • Accept our shortcomings and help us succeed.

  • Handwritten notes or a framed snapshot of the two of you are heartfelt gifts to share with women who hold these unique positions.

  • Girlfriends

  • These are women whose presence enrich our lives. These confidants:

    • Arrive at our door ready to listen because they had a feeling we needed them.

    • Take us out for a movie and a laugh because they think we are worth it.

    • Believe we are stronger than we think we are and go about helping us believe it too.

  • Returning the favors she has rendered will let your girlfriend know what a blessing she is in your life.

  • Mothers, Mamas, Mommies and Mums

  • Finally we pay tribute to the women who endure with us through thick and thin and know us through and through yet love us anyway. These selfless women:

    • Sing lullabies and the ABCs.

    • Wipe tears and fevered brows.

    • Read at bedtime and teach us to read.

    • Change dirty sheets and iron clothes.

    • Cheer our small victories and buoy us when we fail.

    • Establish routines and create family traditions.

    • Drive carpools and buy car insurance.

    • Bake goodies and throw parties.

    • Mend broken hearts and assuage bruised egos.

    • Attend school plays and endure parent-teacher meetings.

    • Celebrate college admissions and cry at graduations.

    • Plan weddings and give marital advice.

    • Knit baby booties and cradle grandbabies.

    • Serve without complaint and become angels long before they die.

  • Just like the quirky ornaments we made as children, mums will love a handmade token of appreciation from their little girl. Take the time this Mother's Day to make something special for the one who has given so much of her time to you.

  • Whether they stay up all night with us laughing, deliver a meal to us when we're ill or cheer us on just by being cheerful, mothering woman of influence deserve thanks. Recognizing and rewarding these women is a great way to spend Mother's Day. Chances are someone is thinking happy thoughts about you too!

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Jen Savage is the COO of her household. She loves life in Arizona.

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