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I've always said I'm not raising girls, I'm raising women. The woman I am today is a direct reflection of the women I have come into contact with over the last 40 plus years. Whether the experience is inspirational, heart-warming, frustrating or downright infuriating, I've learnt much from many.
And so on International Women's Day 2017 I cast my mind to my future hopes for my three daughters.
I hope, first and foremost, that they are happy and healthy and look forward to waking up in the morning. But if at anytime, life's path gets too rocky, I hope they have choices to help them through the difficulty days.
I hope they find comfort when they look back on their childhood. That they are warmed by the memory of dancing in the kitchen and re-tell stories of their misdemeanours to the next generation. That the music and the clothes and the photos will be looked upon with smiles because the happy outweighs the sad.
I hope they seek guidance from the women in their family and friendship circles. That they know who to turn to and to trust when, maybe, I am not enough. Right now, the women who fill our lives are honest and loving and spiritual and hilarious and carry each other in their hearts.
I hope they develop a voice that enables them to speak up for themselves, to speak out against wrongs, to ask for support when they feel downtrodden, to give advice when they are experienced enough to provide it. To say sorry but only if they mean it.
I hope they achieve what they set out to achieve. That they follow their passions and share their enthusiasms and that they are able to carve escapes out of their ruts. That they are encouraged by other women to succeed and then, in turn, lower the ladder for others to follow.
And lastly, I hope that they can spend time with each other to smile and laugh and cry and argue. That their sisterly ties become secure over time, distance and life. And I hope they dance together in their kitchens.