The Women Who Raised Us

TEXT by Katherine Oakes | PHOTOGRAPHS by One Thousand Design & PGM


This Mother's Day, we're taking a moment to say thank you to the women who instilled an appreciation for the Earth, ourselves, and each other with a gentle, guiding hand, that both shaped our identity and allowed us room to grow into our own. To celebrate this day and the legacy we hope to continue, we are so happy to share this beautiful piece on the women who raised us, by Kassia Binkowski of One Thousand Design and Lindsay Williamson of Mod Girl Coach, two inspiring women in their own right. 



The sweet wafting scent of lilacs in the spring that leave me breathless with nostalgia for my Midwestern mother – a frenzied woman never too busy to cut fresh flowers for the table. That’s just the way our mothers would want it, isn’t it? A soft breeze carrying in subtle reminders and sweet memories of the women who raised us.

Memories of grandmothers tickling our backs during sticky Maryland summers on the porch, whispering to us about respecting nature and taking care. Memories of mothers washing our hair in a stainless steel sink while showing us how to be gentle. Memories of aunts teaching us to curate our words as well as our wardrobes, sitting with us on cold winter nights steadily stoking our confidence. Memories of sisters being relentlessly strong. Memories of neighbors with doors propped perpetually open.


Somewhere between make-believe and mortgages, we lean on these lessons as we build our own messy lives. The women who raised us sang their songs into our sub-conscious so that now when we take risks, muddle through hardships, build businesses, and fall in love it’s their guidance that we remember and it’s their legacy that we try to honor.


These are the legacies of women whose own mothers fought for the right to vote so that they themselves could fight for the access to work and have an education so that today we—the daughters and granddaughters and great-granddaughters of pioneering women—can fight for the chance to choose. Armed with authenticity, respect, selflessness, and strength, we are prepared to stand on the backs of generations of women before us to fight our own wars; wars of pay and poverty, sustainability and social justice. Wars that we stand to win in no small part thanks to the long lineage of women who raised us.


It’s our turn now. These women awakened in us a sense of urgency to implement their lessons and make our mark. We cannot know what the future holds for the women who walk in and out of our lives, and we can only imagine the challenges that our children may someday endure. We can, however, take time and take care. We can honor the women who have come before us, and the ones who will come after, by greeting the world with optimism and grace. We can tickle backs, and wash hair, we can be patient and strong and open-minded. We can also stop to smell the lilacs.

PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: Lilacs by Kassia Binkowski | B&W Photos by PGM