Not all learning takes place as a result of a loving proximity to the mother. In a home where the mother-daughter bond is a bare thread, the things a mother teaches are by example and perhaps through her unconscious life renderings.
My mother was pioneer for woman’s rights in the 1950s without a picket sign or a protest march. She had five children and not much love for the career position of mother and housewife. Mother managed her happiness by working outside the house and she loved it. She was the first woman in our neighborhood to take a professional position in the corporate world and taught me it was possible. Her passion for the dignity of her own paycheck taught me the value of creating my own income. I was fortunate to witness an intelligent, ambitious woman who took responsibility for her own happiness and taught me that it was possible. I saw that she relished the privilege of partnering from an equal position of choice and responsibility. Without ever talking about the value of work, my mother taught in the way she lived her life.
In the kitchen, making pies one Saturday, I was given the blessing from top cook to amateur when my mother told me that my pie crust was better than hers. This was huge. This is something I hold to this day as an important moment when I went beyond my teacher. She let me know it could be done.
My mother also taught me how to put my creativity into everything from organizing a room to baking an apple pie and to observe the results through the experience of self- reaction. This was part of her love of education on every level, from classroom instruction to personal epiphanies.
My mother was born, baptized, married and eulogized in the First Baptist Church of Naseua, New Hampshire. Her religious life was one of duty to the beliefs of the church, yet her spiritual life was rich with imagination and awareness. One morning we were sitting in the sewing room after a huge snow storm. We viewed the whiteness covering the back yard, making everything look still when my mother commented that winter was a death….of sorts. And, from a pensive start she announced that she believed in reincarnation. She said, “I do believe reincarnation must be a reality if you follow the example of the seasons. In the winter all is dead, still or hibernating, yet in the spring everything comes back to life. It must be the same with us.” She shared this with me only and I carried the idea into adulthood, into my expansiveness of exploring a spiritual world greater than the one I was raised in, because my mother taught me to look at what nature and life have to give in the form of instruction. She taught me to never stop looking, listening and learning.