Sunday, February 22


About two weeks ago, on a Tuesday, I had lunch with my cousin Jane. We're not actually first cousins, though we are around the same age. Her father is my grandmother's much younger half-brother, so technically Jane is my second half-cousin, once removed. How about that? Jane and I recently reconnected on Facebook, and we decided to have lunch.She brought with her a bag with three plates in them. The plates had belonged to my mother's great Aunt Helena, a powerful woman who played quite a strong presence in my mother's life before I was born. I never met her, but my other cousin Nell is named after her, and her name is still spoken with reverence by everyone in my mother's family. Having something that belonged to her is an honor, even if it's a single plate (I am to divide the set among myself and my female cousins).

On the same day, coincidentally, I received an email from one of Anne's friends, asking me what size shoes I wore. Apparently my feet are too small to wear some of Anne's shoes, but some blouses and a skirt are being held aside for me.

These gifts, these small reminders of these women, made me very thoughtful that day. My grandmother had been a doctor, attending medical school in the early 1940s, when my father was still small. This day of receiving reminded me of something that was said to me at her funeral, an offhand comment from another relative, that her footsteps were a lot to fill but that I was lucky to have such a role model in my life.

Many role models, really. I am so lucky.

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