Today, I want to share the story of another powerful women in my life. A post less fun, but at least as important, to share.

Yesterday, I posted about my Aunt Luella – a trailblazer, a role model, who makes me smile and inspires me to this day.

It was a wonderful trip down memory lane and it sparked fun conversations. It also triggered some more difficult ones…comments publicly and privately saying “I wish I had a role model like that.” and people sharing their own stories with me.

Now, I want to talk about, and thank, my mother.

She did her best to hold me back, get me to follow her path as a stay-at-home mom, or maybe a teacher. She tried to stop me from taking risks, being a disruptor, challenging the status quo. She tried valiantly to stop me from making waves (ok, sometimes they were total tsunamis).

My accomplishments were rarely acknowledged, and certainly not applauded. I was seriously ill, working part-time, and paying for my apartment in Manhattan. I was finishing my doctorate at Columbia University, Teachers College. I’d paid for it on my own (with the help of student loans). I needed $340 to get my dissertation formatted and printed.

Despite my parents being well able to afford it, and knowing all the money and work I’d invested up to this last step before defending my parents suggested that I didn’t need to finish. I could quit now. They refused to loan me 340 dollars.

My mother desperately wanted a different kind of daughter…and she believed she knew what was best for me. The irony, her very attempts to hold me back, to shut my mouth, know my place…helped me step out, rebel, create seemingly impossible outcomes, and become all that I am today.

My mother loved me, but I wasn’t the daughter of her dreams, and her actions showed it. While she didn’t say those words directly, her words, her actions said it clearly. It hurt…a lot.

For years I didn’t understand the value I got from her. I was angry…and sad. Things revealed after her death turned the knife deeper.

Now, I appreciate the powerful role she played in molding me, helping me deal with criticism when I move into arenas deemed crazy and unlikely to succeed, and stand my ground, rebelling against anything or anyone that tried to hold me back, diminish my vision, or make me smaller.

It wasn’t what I would have wished for either, but I appreciate her perspective, the gifts I got from her, and that ultimately, my mother did the best she could…and I benefited greatly.