My Nana never learned how to drive. But she could take a 10-inch cake and slice it into such tiny pieces, she could feed 20 hungry people. She made the best meatballs I've ever tasted. Lou (as she was called by her old neighbors in Brooklyn) probably saved every single salt and pepper packet she ever came across. She loved parties and being in the middle of the action. Nana could cuss you out for being thoughtless, but then she'd make you the best sandwich of your life because you skipped breakfast. She was ruthless card player and took the game seriously. Nana played to win and expected you to do the same. She was like no one else; and I still miss her, eight years after her death.
But as much as I loved my Nana, she probably won't be in any history books. Other than what I write about her here, no one will know what she meant to me and my family. And I guess that's ok.
And I'm betting you have your own Nana. The mommies. The daughters. The sisters. The aunties. The neighbors. The friends who become family. The teachers who saw something special in you. The boss who mentored you. The women who make you feel as if wherever you are standing is exactly where you are supposed to be in that moment. Women who mean so much to you that it's hard to turn that emotion into words. And I guess that's ok, too.
Because we carry these extraordinary women with us. Every day we tuck them, and all the love they gave us into our hair. And we wear it, all of it, like a crown of wildflowers. Maybe ask a few wildflowers to rest on our shoulders and keep us steady. Perhaps point us in the right direction, even. And someday, if we take hold of what these wildflower women taught us, we will become a part of someone else's crown.
And that's more than ok. It's a beautiful thing...when you stop to think about it.
Happy Women's Day.
illustration: ThePairaBirds, Etsy. photo: my own