The women of my clan..

At the beach, Andy took a moment to tell Super Mom how much he appreciates the smart, strong and articulate women in our clan.  I couldn’t agree more.  Don’t get me wrong, the Ross men are wonderful – smart, strong, good fathers and generally very good people – but the women in my clan are something special.

Joy is my Grandmother.  She moved from northern MI to Iowa for college, met my grandfather and stayed in Iowa for 67 more years.  She raised fabulous kids, held jobs at the Egg house and as a social worker and all along kept her quiet grace.  Grandma is someone you lean close to listen to because she has something to say.

Hilary was a nun, a newspaper reporter and a college English instructor.  She never married, but she has a fantastic group of friends who are her family.  She has a quick wit, a keen eye for bullshit and she can tell a joke.

Pat worked for the Mayo clinic.  She raised a wonderful daughter mostly by herself and she was a fantastic cook.  As a grandmother, she’s the one her granddaughters cross the country to visit because she loves unconditionally.

SuperMom has had many challenges in her life.  She lost a daughter, she sat with her other daughter thru chemo.  She divorced one husband and buried another.  She worked full time as a nurse and taught her daughters that you don’t die from being tired – and that you can build a good life without a lot of money…. and that you should always have a book in your purse.

Shirley wasn’t without her own challenges.  She lost a husband, moved several times and raised a wonderful pair of children who are now both outstanding parents.  Shirley always set high standards for her children and they exceeded them.  She taught them that family is a priority and that travel can broaden your horizons like nothing else.

Reggie raised three boys who are now extraordinary men.  She’s a quiet person who demonstrates that the loudest voice isn’t always the one you should listen to.  She’s smart and observant about people and puts a lot of effort into maintaining connections in the family.  She’s the one who always remembers birthdays, anniversaries and important dates.  We ask her if we need to know how old anybody is.

Jane is kind of a latecomer to the clan, having caught up with her Ross spouse later in life.  Jane is a charming organizer.  She smiles, she has a plan and her plan is always the way to go.  She had her own challenges early in life and in spite of them she never lost her faith in humanity or her belief that people are good.

Me – I rock in many ways… and I’ve learned many lessons from the women of clan Ross.  You can judge for yourself, but it’s pretty clear that I’m a sweet bossy-pants older sister type.

Pam is the one we miss at every reunion.  She was a free spirit who was never afraid to speak up if something wasn’t right in her mind.  She was fiercely loyal to her friends and family.  If you were one of her peeps, she’d tell you off, love you and defend you to anybody.

Emily is so smart, she’s kind of like Einstein in that you know she’s smarter than you, but you have no idea how much smarter she is.  She’s strong, gentle, kind, articulate and very funny in her own way.  She’s raising two fantastic and very different daughters.  She’s had her own life challenges and has come out on the other side wise beyond her years.

Sharon is quiet, patient and brilliant.  She’s Italian and proud of it.  She’s also very smart about money, so that she can focus her time and energy on the things she thinks are important rather than worrying about how to pay the rent.  She’s been with her Ross since 8th grade, which means she’s grown up in both her own large and wonderful family and the Ross clan.

Sunshine is much like her name – with an ironic twist.  She was raised as a hippie child and has kept those values.  She has an actress’ way about her, saying things in a wonderfully dramatic way.  She’ll make you laugh, cry and hug her all in a sentence or two.

Nick’s Angie is practical.  She’s the only one of us who has a major in which people actually get jobs that are careers, not hobbies.  She’s a great mom, wonderful wife and an independent thinker.  At her wedding, instead of bridesmaids she had men stand up with her.

John’s Angie loves life in all of it’s forms.  She works in a burn unit giving wonderful care to people who need it the most.  She collects animals in a good way, giving each the love and attention good parents give to their human children.  She gets up early to enjoy the beach and have coffee with Grandma.  She and John are fabulous travel partners, already having many amazing trips together.

Martha is the youngest in our generation.  She’s blonde, beautiful and smart – the whole package.  She’s a keen observer of people and places and she’s not afraid to tell you what she’s thinking.  Martha works in Hollywood and I have no doubt that she’ll be the one about whom the family says, “have you seen Martha’s latest movie”?  She’s also the last unattached Ross of my generation, so if you want to date her you need to pass the Ross clan gauntlet and bring skills we’ll need in case of a Zombie attack.

The great granddaughters are works in progress, but they can’t help but turn out wonderfully with these women as their role models.  No matter what they do, we’ll love them just like they are – with all the bumps and bruises life can deliver.

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