In the Light and in the Shadow, the women who enlightened me
This post is an ode to women, to those who, without needing to be in the limelight, have worked hard and put in real effort for the family, yet always in the shadows. I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by several inspiring women who have made me realise just how overlooked they are in modern society.
From my surname you will gather that I am not English, but Spanish and specifically, I was born in a small town in northern Spain called Logroño, surrounded by vineyards. Fruit orchards, village life, summers on the river and bicycle races have been ever present throughout my life as I mentioned in the previous post
I have grown up watching an enterprising grandmother who, together with my grandfather, always worked both inside and outside the home, and obtained licenses to drive both motorbikes and cars in order to visit their clients. My grandmother was also in charge of the housework, together with her mother (my great-grandmother), because in those days it was very common for grandparents to live in the family home right to the end of their days. Once he retired, my grandfather helped my grandmother with most of the household chores, so I never had to go without anything, because he was always there when he was needed.
My mother followed in her footsteps and together with my father, she ran a successful business and put three daughters through university, without appearing overburdened, but was instead able to prioritise one thing over another during certain periods of her life. Showing how to prioritise and being totally dedicated to the family are, without a doubt, her best legacy. Witnessing it first hand is nothing like being told about it, so anyone who has not been through the experience may think it sounds a little odd. But there are ways of living that do not go out of fashion and the benefits become obvious over time.
In short, I have grown up surrounded by great women, thanks also to their husbands who made a formidable team. They were intelligent men, and their women shone as wives, mothers and workers. And I experienced this not in a big city environment but at the heart of a tiny closely connected community, where the avant-gardes always arrive a little later and where common sense and a sense of responsibility were more important than studying for a career. Yes, dear friends, this happened in Spain in the 50s and 60s and is continuing today.
Most of my childhood friends have similar stories to share, which means that my family did not turn out to be an exception, but that Spain was full of families like us. And I would add that this is repeated in many other parts of the world.
My message is simple, women have always known how to work behind the scenes, without the need to be praised or awarded medals. But nowadays we do applaud them and thank them for their great effort and the good example they set us. The important thing is that we university-educated women of the 21st century, myself included, recognise the great work they carried out with such humility, never boastful or blinded by the limelight, aware of the values they transmitted. It is thanks to their model example that I have become the person I am today, and I feel enormous gratitude.