My Mother Showed Me

My mother Margie showed me the importance of a close family and companionship. My earliest memories were with my mother and Nana Bea, another strong female in my life. Whatever I wanted in terms of my newest trend, whether it was a special nutritional regime or a new outfit, my mother supported me.

My mother showed me how to shop, how to have a sense of style, and how to coordinate, making sure that everything matched. She taught me about jewelry and how a simple gold ring or necklace could mean so much when memories were attached to them.

My mother showed me the importance of female friendships through her own example. She was close to all her aunts, “the aunties” and shared very close, long time friendships with so many wonderful women.

My mother showed me the closeness that sister-in-laws can have with each other, as she loved Aunt Mary so much. She showed me the closeness of a brother and sister, with her own dear brother Harold.

My mother showed me compassion for children by loving my three sons unconditionally and being there to tell me of how great they were—all the time. She would always say, “Don’t put your head on their shoulders,” reminding me that they are their own men, as they should be.

My mother showed the grace of a long-term commitment and devotion to a spouse, especially through the eight years of caring for my father after his stroke.

My mother showed me her path in the world and I then learned that I needed to take my own path as a woman; we acknowledged the differences in our paths, yet I knew she felt pride for what I have done along my journey.

My mother showed me that we, as children, get to choose our childhood and adulthood memories of our parents that we can then carry with us for the rest of our lives.

Why Would Bees Do That?

A few years ago, every time I opened my front door, I noticed at least 10 to 15 dead bees with no hive to be found. I soon found the reason for this ‘bee graveyard.’ One early morning in the peaceful predawn darkness, I witnessed the bees hovering around the outside light, which radiated intense heat. No matter whether the bees were getting burned, they continued this dance, touching the light, bouncing away and then returning for more abuse until they dropped onto the ground, quite toasty, I believe, and also quite dead. What would make them continue to return to the heated light knowing, perhaps, on some primal level that they would fry? Their deadly behavior made me think about my own behavior.

In my own journey, why, at times, have I done things that I know aren’t good for me? Certainly, unlike the bees, I don’t walk in front of a moving truck, yet I have my own version of reaching out and touching the burning light. In my life, I have spent far too much time people pleasing, thinking that this was what I had to do, yet it didn’t serve me well. Certainly, worrying about what others thought and trying to make them happy, when nothing really would, resulted in limiting my own growth. Yet, I continued this behavior, which was my own way of rubbing up against the burning light.

Professionally, I worked far too long in a position that did not serve me, yet daily, I returned to the job, alongside those who cared little for my welfare and even less for the good I was trying to accomplish. Thinking perhaps I could change and others would too, I kept trying to touch the burning light. Yes, I woke up and followed my own soul’s demands, but not before getting the proverbial burn seared into my soul.

Over the years, I twisted and turned, configuring myself into a rubber Gumby, bending into the shape that others expected, knowing that such behavior took me away from my innate beauty and, at times, my values. I sought the burning light and on some level I knew it would burn me, yet I returned for more.

The bees had a chance to survive at daylight when the automatic lights dimmed, yet they could not wait; it was as if they had to touch the light. In my own life, it certainly would have been easier if I could have just turned off the light, but one of my many life’s lessons is to see the light and avoid it. I am doing just this—one day at a time.