Many years ago, ten to be exact, I was entertaining an out-of-state, visiting friend by helping her pack up the apartment of one of her friends. It was a strange situation, and I would swear drugs were involved somewhere, but I think they had been all smoked up before I arrived. As I was wrapping up dinnerware in newspaper, the barely lucid Friend of the Friend was hissing and spitting over a horrible Jezebel of a woman, who had stolen her man. The more I listened to the crazy, the more I thought, “I need to meet this woman.” It was a The Enemy of The Crazy could be my Friend, sort of thing. About a year later, I did meet her. And you know what? I was right, Grace is pretty nifty.
Grace is better than nifty. If you need to know how to cook something, clean something, make something, or get anywhere, Grace is your girl. Since I have known her, she has been as devoted a friend, wife, and mother as anyone could be. She is doggedly loyal, loudly and proudly protective of her friends and family, and is the kind of woman you want in your cache of friends. She is smart and informed, and when she takes a stand, you better believe she’s done her homework and she is not backing down.
You can count on Grace. She is the kind of girl who remembers not only your birthday, but your favorite cake, favorite color, that you are allergic to peanuts, and love party hats–and she makes it happen for you. Grace is salt of the earth, good people.
Name: Graciela to my hispanic brethren but I answer to Grace
Age Range: 40s
Preferred Job Title: Supreme High Priestess…….or Mom. Mom is good.
Industry: currently I am an unpaid child educator, psychiatrist, life coach, imparter of etiquette, chef, maid, chauffer which means I am a stay at home mom at the moment thanks to the perfect storm of a downturn in the t-com industry and crazy taxes in New York state that moved my job to Florida.
Who are you? I am woman, hear me roar! I am many things to many people but I try to underpin it all by being the best me I can manage at any given moment. I am a wife and mother first and foremost. I didn’t get married until my thirties and despite being told I’d never get pregnant (or carry to term if I did), I had 2 amazing children in my mid to late thirties. Turns out they were right about the “to term” part but I figure I need to really rock the mom thing because it’s clearly a gift I didn’t expect to have. It’s hokey but I try to make the most of every moment with and for them. I’m a pretty good wife and daughter if I do say so myself. I’m a fantastic friend and formidable foe–hurt somebody I love and just see what happens. I am a freelance photographer for our local paper as well as a town blogger for the same publication.
Describe your family: While I love my parents and brother, they got relegated to “relative” status once I got married and had my wee peeps. Dave, Johnny and Reagan are my family, my core, my inner sanctum, my reason for being. I have a circle of close friends who are the family of my heart if not my blood.
What does the first hour of your day look like? To paraphrase the fantabulous Dolly Parton, it involves stumbling to the kitchen in search of a cup of ambition. Once I smell the elixer of life brewing, I wake up the boy child for school, get him cuddled, dressed and fed while keeping him on schedule to get out the door on time. At some point the girl child toddles down the hall and onto my lap for her snuggles and kisses before her daily feeding marathoin commences. Hubby gets woken gently if I have time or gets jumped on by a child otherwise!
The last hour? I’d love to say something profound but I tend to be playing on Facebook and/or watching reality trainwrecks on Bravo. My name is Grace, and I’m addicted to Real Housewives of all kinds as well as competitive hair dressing and fashion design.
What makes you feel successful? I never believed your feelings of worth should be tied to other people until I became a mother. When one of my intelligent, well mannered, well behaved children is complimented for any of the previously listed attributes, I feel immensely proud. I also love being the hostess with the mostess, to have a gathering of pals in my home for food and fun. I love when people leave feeling full and happy.
What brings you joy? Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens……well, maybe not the kittens since I am allergic to cats. The sound of my kids belly laughing, waking up spooned with my husband, the smell of October in western New York, football on Sundays with sauce simmering on the stove. I love a good book and strong cup of coffee, my gal pals and making my house a home for the people I love.
What women do you admire? People you don’t know…..my friend Jennae, who is raising one son with autism and one with life threatening food allergies to pretty much everything with a diligence, determination and grace that humbles me. My friend Janet, who had a tough row to hoe as a single mom but who now, as a grandmother and friend, is the warmest, kindest, most giving person I know. Globally? Golda Meir, Sandra Day O’Conner, every woman out there making the best of each day one little success at a time.
What do you like best about your closest friend? She’s bright and feisty, generous of spirit and has a huge heart. She’s also the person I want with me in the trenches when it all goes to hell because she’s totally loyal and would have my back. And she makes killer cheesecake!
What do you like best about yourself? I am comfortable in my convictions and beliefs, and believe me when I say I am often NOT on the warm and fuzzy, politically correct side of things. There’s been many a time that I was the only person facing right with a million others facing left and I’m okay with it.
What advice would you give boys about girls? Don’t try to figure girls out. We cry when we feel joy, we really do believe that shoes are connected to happiness and that chocolate fixes things. Just respect girls, love girls, hold open doors and be polite. Treat every girl you meet like you’d want somebody to treat your mother and sisters.
How do you overcome adversity? With prayer and determination. One of my dad’s favorite sayings is that God will steer the boat for you, but you have to do the rowing. We just went through a cancer scare here and all I could do was offer it up to God and keep on keeping on for my family.
How do you want to be remembered? With a smile, an anecdote, a recognition that I did the best I could every day and that my children and husband knew every day that they got the best of me and were loved with all my heart.