First, I want to say thanks for all the kind words in response to my mom’s passing, the cards, flowers, and generous donations of trees in her memory. My heart was quite touched. In all honesty, my initial response to her death was relief. As this week has unfolded, I’ve moved into forgiveness. I’m intentionally sending her off with love. I recall the wise words of a Seed parent last week who reminded me that grief is not a linear process. I’m allowing time for all the different feelings to arise, and cutting myself slack for not having cried yet. I’m being with what’s in my heart, trusting that my journey through the layers will give me what I need.
I’ve been thinking about my mom’s influences that led to Awakening Seed. There are all the obvious ones: she was an artist and a teacher, and she knew the value of children having time for free exploration with materials. She and my dad gave us a childhood with open space, infinite time outdoors, and an appreciation for nature. We had sand, mud, sticks, water, bricks, rocks, boards, and a myriad of other raw materials to support our imaginative play. My mom sent me off to summer camp starting the summer I turned twelve. It was there that I started to develop an understanding of my place in the world, and develop the kind of friendships that lasted well into adulthood. It was where I began to understand the power of connection and community.
As I grew older and learned more about my mom’s life, I saw other sides of her that contributed to who she was. I also came to see how those qualities were handed down to me. For one, she loved her father deeply and told me stories of how she’d fly with him in the early days of aviation, her skinny little body perched behind him on top of the parachute. She adored him, and tragically lost her dad at age six when his plane crashed somewhere in Montana. A couple years later her mother, needing to pursue a graduate degree to support her two children, left them with relatives for two years. My mom said the relatives were loving to her, but for awhile she was without either parent. When I think of her at that time, I believe she showed incredible resilience and determination. Without the benefit of the kinds of therapy or mental health support we have today, she was a child who experienced a major trauma and still made the best of her life. That determination was definitely passed along to me, and it’s one reason she and I were a continual challenge for each other. It’s also a key factor that has helped sustain the Seed for close to 50 years.
Over the last two years, every time I visited my parents, I spent time digging through their boxes of old family photos. I loved finding this one of my mom as a girl (around 12 or so), sitting by her mother. The look on her face cracked me up. As I looked at her expression I saw a bit of a rebel, a don’t-even-think-of-messing-with-me kind of face. Although having a mother with this level of intensity had its drawbacks, I’m glad I have her DNA. It’s allowed me to live in a realm of possibility at the Seed, and in the rest of my life. Plus, it comes in handy on a daily basis when faced with our next generation of rebels and change makers.
link to more about my mom’s life.