Thanks to an important woman / by Tim Querengesser

Never mind those suggestions for women to hold hands with a man today, on International Women's Day. Men like me should today hold the hands of the women in our lives and thank them for all they've done.

I can't hold her hand today, as she's in Ontario, but if I could I'd be holding my mom's.

She became the first in her family to pursue and receive a university education. She then went on to become a grade-school teacher. For more than 30 years, my mom taught people struggling to read, well, to read.

Even today, when I visit Kitchener-Waterloo, where I'm from and where she still lives, people will hear my last name, ask if my mom was "Mrs. Q," as she was always known, and proceed to tell me how she taught them how to read.

Talk about leaving a legacy.

But it extended far beyond the school.

If you were sick, your family was struggling, you had just experienced hardship, Mrs. Q would be the first, maybe the only person, to drop off a pie or a stew or some other way of letting you know that she was thinking of you and had your back.

As a kid, while some of my friends were shooting hockey pucks against garage doors to burn away long hours of boredom, my mom was taking me to plays or giving me books or buying us tickets for the train to trips to Toronto where we'd explore museums, planetariums and city life.

I am who I am because of those early experiences exploring the world. I will never stop exploring, learning.

She came from a humble place and wanted only to give me more than she had. And succeeded.

She is a woman, like so many, who makes the world warmer and more connected. She gave me life, but also taught me about how to live it—how to always give back.

To women. 

© Copyright 2017 Tim Querengesser. No reproductions without license. Image: Flickr/greensefa