This month, we’re celebrating the women in our lives who inspire us to take better care of ourselves and pursue our health goals. Read stories from Northwest residents about the inspiring women behind their achievements and community involvement in our Women Who Inspire series. Today’s column is provided by LifeWise Ambassador Dana Robertson Halter.
I can’t remember exactly when it happened, but a number of years ago, I stopped looking at you as just my mother and started to also consider you my friend. In fact, my best friend. You are the first person I call to share something wonderful and the first person I turn to when something awful happens.
You encouraged your children to try all sorts of activities to find out what we enjoyed most. We swam, played soccer, skied, rode horses, ran track, took piano lessons and sang in the children’s choir. Although I wasn’t the best soccer player, you and dad came to every game and stood in the rain, gamely cheering me on. When swimming became a two-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week, meets-every-weekend activity, you and dad got certified as Stroke & Turn Officials so you could spend more time with us.
As an adult I can say it: thank you for always being there. Thank you for giving up your own hobbies to drive us from activity to activity. Thank you for supporting and encouraging me to do my best – no matter what. You built me up, extolled the importance of hard work, taught me to never quit and reminded me that life isn’t always fair.
Through your teachings, I survived the realization that my little sister was passing me up in the pool. Rather than letting me wallow in my misery, you pushed me to focus on doing my best – and repeated your mantra for me: “Dana, your time will come.” As one newspaper article put it a few years later, I wasn’t the biggest or fastest swimmer on the high school team, but I was one of the hardest workers and had the biggest heart. I learned that from you.
You’re honest, direct, loyal and fair. You’re also passionate and immerse yourself in everything you do, whether you’re competing with your dogs, winning recipe contests or cultivating an award-winning dahlia garden. You give me advice even thought I don’t always want to hear it. And you’re almost always right. As a teenager, it used to be annoying. Now I think it’s awesome.
You’re helping me raise my kids too, and bring the same no-nonsense approach to grandparenting that you brought to parenting. My girls have a special bond with you and we’re all better for it.
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t look at you as my role model and feel grateful for the close family we have. Looking back, if I can be the kind of mom to my girls that you’ve been to me, they will be loving, strong, successful women – and I’ll have a lot to be proud of.
Thank you, Mom. For everything.
Dana Robertson Halter is a lifelong athlete and mother of 4-year-old Cassandra and 2-year-old McKenna. Dana started swimming competitively at six, began racing triathlons after college, switched to bike racing in 2004 because triathlons were too lonely, and then went back to racing solo (marathons) after having her first child in 2009. Living LifeWise is how Dana keeps her body and brain strong – and it provides a healthy outlet for her competitive spirit. Dana works as a Communications Manager for LifeWise and lives in Ballard with her family and two Australian Shepherds.
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