Over three decades ago I became a mother for the first time to an amazing daughter, Courtney Sabra Marie Gladney is her name. I have always been a family person but I was unaware and unprepared for the accountabilities and responsibilities of motherhood. Being a mother is one of the greatest gifts God has given me and I thank him daily for trusting me with such important labor of love. I am truly grateful for both my daughter and my son, Frederic Douglas Gladney, III. As we close out National Women’s History Month, I want to publicly acknowledge and thank my daughter Courtney who is not only my daughter, she also is my friend, my travel partner, and a person I admire and respect. I want to let her know how appreciative and grateful I am for the important role she has played in my life. You have taught me so many things about myself, life, love, and the magical and wonderful bond between a mother and a daughter. I cherish the moments, memories, and milestones we have created and celebrated together. Watching you grow up to become the woman you are today has been one of the joys of my life. To me, you are like a diamond: brilliant, amazing, and flawless.
I know many of you are aware that mother-daughter relationships can be one of the most contentious and toxic of all the different family relationships. Whenever you put two women together in close proximity for extended periods of time, trauma and drama often rear their ugly heads, regardless if they are related or not. One of the things I appreciate most about my relationship with my daughter is, when we do not see eye-to-eye we make the effort to work things out regardless of fault. We have always tried to fix the problem rather than fix the blame. No situation or issue is more important than our relationship. I think this is a good model for most relationships.
After my daughter graduated from Spelman College she moved to New York City, where she worked in the automotive industry. Her work in marketing and public relations taught her business skills that she was able to bring back to California and help me in my business. It was a blessing that we have had an opportunity to work together, live together, and see much of the world together. Over the years people have shared how they admire and respect our mother-daughter relationship. I am humbled and appreciative of those comments but this relationship has required patience, compassion, and compromise on both our parts.
To my firstborn and only daughter as you celebrate another year around the sun, I wish you a happy birthday and I pray God blesses you with a life full of joy and fulfillment. Continue to invest in others and remember, to whom much is given much is required. I love your heart and how you have committed your life to ministry and helping those in need and who are less fortunate than you. I see through your photography your compassion toward others. Never stop using what God has put in your heart to do. Remember what it says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” The best is yet to come.
When you were a little girl, I used to always tell you and your brother Freddie to remember you are a Christian, a Gladney, and your mother loves you with all her heart. You are the next generation to carry on the name and work of our family. #NationalWomensHistoryMonth #HappyBirthday
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Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.