I come from a long line of women.
My nanna is the youngest of twelve, and only four of them boys.
She then went on to have five children of her own, only one boy.
I am the eldest of the eight grandchildren, and only two boys.
There are ten great-grandchildren, and only three boys. So to say girls run strong in my family is a bit of an understatement.
And we are strong women. When we all get together, there is much noise, loud conversation with a variety of strong opinions, some disagreements (as always with sisters), and a lot of love and laughter.
And you might think where are the men in this picture?
Well this family also has ten strong marriages. My grandparents celebrated 61 years of marriage this year, my parents 38, and we celebrate 15 years in December.
So the men in my family are present, graciously giving us space, giving us advice, and giving us their love and commitment. Letting us know, just quietly, when we might have hurt or offended someone; when we need to make amends; when we need to stand up for ourselves; and when we need to keep peace.
The amazing thing about the men who married into my family is they knew what they were getting in for. They knew they were marrying strong women, and they live lives of support and encouragement, and they release us and enable us to be free to live our lives.
They are truly strong men, because they are not threatened by the forceful opinions or the noise. And because of that, (when they do manage to get a word in edgeways), what they have to say has much weight and standing.
And isn’t that true strength? Men who are comfortable enough in themselves to not be threatened, who are at peace enough to enable and release their partners, men who are solid, dependable, quietly speaking words of grace and empowerment into the women around them. Men who make us better women, and I am thankful for each and every one of them.